Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Polar regions - Rich biodiversity

Many people believe that polar regions are areas with very little life because of extremely cold weather conditions. People usually think about polar bears, penguins, couple of fish species and that's about all. Well the reality is completely different. A marine census couple of days ago documented about 7,500 species in the Antarctic and about 5,500 in the Arctic, including several hundred species that researchers believe could be new to science.

People usually connect rich biodiversity with tropical areas but marine life in polar regions is just as rich and as just as beautiful in Antarctic and Arctic seas. The most interesting fact of this discovery is definitely similarity of life on both poles as many as 235 species were found in both polar seas despite the huge 11000 km between these regions.

Polar regions are full of life with 13,000 different species.

Unfortunately both these regions have not only couple of hundreds of same species but also one gigantic problem - namely global warming that threatens these rich ecosystems. Global warming accompanied with invasion of foreign species that are more and more coming as temperatures increase could cause extinction of many of these species because their "cold sanctity" won't be cold enough in years to come to protect them.

Will this rich biodiversity survive? Difficult to tell, but knowing our lack of responsibility for ecological problems positive scenario looks highly unlikely.

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