Climate change is forcing organisms, top predators as well as primary producers, to shrink in size in order to respond to growing temperatures and changes in ecosystems, a study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) has shown.
The finding is the result of a research through scientific literature that climate change has an unexpected effect on body size for many different species all over the world by David Bickford, Assistant Professor from the Department of Biological Sciences at the NUS Faculty of Science, and his collaborator Dr Jennifer Sheridan.
Many organisms are already getting smaller and many more are likely to shrink as a result of continued climate warming. This trend is evident in numerous studies and has a firm theoretical foundation following fundamental ecological and metabolic rules that also enable scientists to test hypotheses about exactly how and why so many species are getting smaller, which ones might get even smaller in the future, and how it will affect society.
The effects of shrinking organisms will be varied and difficult to predict. The researchers pointed out that the main problem is not necessarily the shrinking itself, but the differential responses of species – some are shrinking while others do not appear to be affected in the same manner.
Such changes in the size of organisms might also affect society: if crops do get smaller in size, for example, there might be troubles providing enough cereals for human population as well as for animals raised for milk and meat. Politicians and administrators at all levels should then keep in mind this new situation in order to plan in advance correctly for future needs.