Climate change leads to genetic change

climate change melting ice
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As we brace ourselves for what threatens to be another battle with influential climate change deniers, the actual evidence for such change is overwhelming. It demands our attention and action. And yet, what action can be taken when climate change is working its grim metamorphosis at a genetic level?

According to new research (Scheffers et al, The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people), global climate change has impacted everything, everywhere.

“Genes are changing, species’ physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are shifting their ranges, and we see clear signs of entire ecosystems under stress, all in response to changes in climate on land and in the ocean”, says Brett Scheffers, research leader and assistant professor in the department of wildlife, ecology and conservation at the University of Florida.

Ecosystems in meltdown

The write-up of the study, in online science magazine Futurity, makes sobering reading: “Scheffers and researchers from 10 countries found that more than 80 percent of ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of responses to climate change”, it reports.

From the perspective of a charity like the Mother and Child Foundation, for whom healthy eating is at the forefront of our message and campaigning, underlying problems in ecosystems and organisms are deeply worrying.

We have no immediate answers or solutions; but, as ever, we welcome your comments. The immediate focus has to be on damage limitation and, over time, the hope that we might see a reversal in some of the patterns that are emerging.

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