A temperature increase of around 1.5°C – just under the maximum target agreed at the COP23 Paris meeting in 2017 – can have a marked impact on algae and animal species living on UK coastlines, new research has found.
The study, by ecologists at the University of Plymouth, examined how increases in rock surface temperature were affecting the quantity and behaviour of species commonly found on the shorelines of Devon and Cornwall.
It focused on two sites on the region’s north coast (at Bude and Croyde) and two on the south coast (Bantham and South Milton Sands), all of which have deep gullies with both north-facing and south-facing surfaces.
Their findings showed the average annual temperature on the south-facing surfaces at low tide was 1.6°C higher than those facing north and that temperature extremes (i.e. > 30°C) were six-fold more frequent on south-facing aspects.