April 18, 2024


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Scientists have discovered the ideal temperature for all life on Earth

Scientists have discovered the ideal temperature for all life on Earth

All species on Earth appear to thrive at an “ideal” temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), according to a new study, suggesting that terrestrial species may struggle more to adapt to climate change.

A review of studies confirmed that the temperature ranges of animals and plants, as well as microbes that live in the air and water, overlap at 20 degrees Celsius.

Scientists say this temperature appears to be “pivotal” for biodiversity.

While many species have adapted to live in warmer and cooler regions, many still survive in 20°C temperatures.

“We find evidence that temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius are increasingly becoming suboptimal for all domains of life, including animals, plants, and prokaryotes,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers suspect that this temperature is pivotal for the efficiency of biological processes due to the molecular properties of water in cells.

The efficiency of chemical processes within cells increases as temperatures rise, reaches a maximum, and then decreases rapidly when the temperature rises.

The researchers explain that this means that temperatures above 20 degrees can lead to several crucial changes among organisms, such as a reduced ability to tolerate low oxygen levels among marine species.

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In a warming world, creatures unable to move to comfortable temperatures may have a harder time adapting.

While marine species can adapt by changing their geographic distribution, terrestrial species may not be able to shift so easily “due to landscapes modified by cities, agriculture and other human infrastructure,” the scientists wrote in The Conversation.

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The research also means that areas that consistently experience temperatures above 20°C can lead to a decline in species richness in the landscape.

Scientists have also found similar evidence of extinctions in fossil records when temperatures remained above this threshold for long periods.

These findings add to growing evidence that biodiversity, which has already declined by more than 20 degrees, will be exacerbated by global warming.

The researchers warn that this could lead to a “simplification” of ecosystems with fewer life forms in many places.

They say there will also be more competition between existing species, which could further restrict habitat.