New Hybrid Shark a Sign of Climate Change Adaptation?

from Wildlife Promise

Black tip shark

Black tip shark in Australia's Great Barrier Reef (Flickr's Paul Benjamin)

Are sharks smarter than some of our elected officials? While Congress may be ignoring climate change, there’s startling new evidencethat sharks are adapting to warming ocean waters:

Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world’s first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan. [...]

The Australian black-tip is slightly smaller than its common cousin and can only live in tropical waters, but its hybrid offspring have been found 2,000 kilometres down the coast, in cooler seas.

It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.

Unfortunately, not every species is fortunate enough to have easy adaptation options:

  • Polar bears can only hunt on seals on sea ice and some polar bear populations are already becoming noticeably thinner thanks to global warming
  • The American pika lives on mountaintops and has nowhere to go as its high-altitude habitat shrinks
  • Warmer water temperatures are causing population declines for trout, salmon and many other species that require cold water to survive

Tell your members of Congress you support limits on climate pollution under the Clean Air Act.