Essay by Eric Worrall
A rare Guardian good news climate change story.
One of UK’s rarest corals set to expand its range as climate change warms seas
Pink sea fan, at risk from bottom-trawling, predicted to spread northwards around coast up to Scotland as sea temperatures rise
It is one of Britain’s rarest and most threatened species, primarily due to bottom-trawling fishing, but researchers have found that the pink sea fan coral could expand its range in the climate crisis.
A slow-growing coral found in shallow waters from the western Mediterranean to north-west Ireland and south-west England and Wales, the pink sea fan (Eunicella verrucosa) is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
But a study by researchers from Exeter University found that the species is likely to spread northwards – including further around the British coast as far as Scotland – by 2100 as global temperatures rise.
Dr Tom Jenkins, from Exeter University, said: “We built models to predict the current and future habitat of pink sea fans across an area covering the Bay of Biscay, the British Isles and southern Norway.”
Using a global heating model called RCP 8.5, the researchers predicted that by 2100 there would be suitable habitats for pink sea fans north of the current range. Successful colonisation, the study found, would depend on several factors, including dispersal and competition.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/27/one-of-uks-rarest-corals-set-to-expand-its-range-as-climate-change-warms-seas
What I find fascinating is The Guardian writing about a positive benefit of climate change – this doesn’t happen very often.
I don’t take the predictions of warming too seriously. RCP 8.5 is a rather extreme climate scenario, >1000ppm CO2-equiv by the year 2100 (up from around 420ppm today), so I suspect the professors may be overestimating the rate of change.