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Sea creatures hit twice as hard by global warming, experts say

Embargoed to 1800 Wednesday April 24 Undated handout photo issued by Rutgers University of a sea robin, one of many marine species facing the threat of global warming. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday April 24, 2019. A study has found cold-blooded sea creatures are twice as sensitive to the effects of climate change as reptiles and insects on land.See PA story SCIENCE Sea. Photo credit should read: Malin Pinsky/Rutgers University - New Brunswick/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder

By John von Radowitz, Press Association Science Correspondent

Cold-blooded sea creatures are twice as sensitive to the effects of global warming as reptiles and insects on land, a study has found.

Marine species have double the risk of vanishing from their habitats as the oceans heat up, researchers say.

The vulnerability of ocean-dwellers to the effects of climate change could have a significant impact on human communities that depend on fish and shellfish, the authors claim.

The study is the first to compare the ability of cold-blooded marine and land species to survive rising temperatures while remaining in their normal habitats.

US scientists analysed worldwide research on almost 400 species, including fish, lizards, insects and crabs.

Lead researcher Dr Malin Pinsky, from Rutgers University, said: "We find that, globally, marine species are being eliminated from their habitats by warming temperatures twice as often as land species.

"The findings suggest that new conservation efforts will be needed if the ocean is going to continue supporting human well-being, nutrition and economic activity."

Marine species were on average more likely to live close to dangerously high temperatures with few means of escape, said the scientists, whose findings appear in the journal Nature.

In contrast many land animals could take refuge from the heat in forests, shaded areas or underground.

Pic by Malin Pinsky/Rutgers University - New Brunswick/PA Wire