How sensitive are manatees to climate change?



  1. 0 Votes

    Manatees are large mammals, so they ectotherms (control their body temperature internally). They may not be directly affected by climate change. However, they feed on vegetation that grows in the shallow water. As the temperatures rise, the water in the oceans, especially the shallow areas, is heating up. This will change the conditions for the vegetation. The vegetation may not be able to grow under warmer conditions and may begin to die, thus reducing the amount of food available for the manatees (of course, the plant may also do better and grow faster, leading to much more vegetation, which initially could provide more food, but which may lead to choking out other plants and animals in the shallows).

    Much remains to be understood about the impacts of climate change on all animals and plants. We must work to understand this as soon as possible, in addition to efforts to slow and stop the dramatic climate change.

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