Sea turtles and coral are among the Florida species already feeling the impact of climate change, according to a report by the National Wildlife Federation.
Scientists who studied the effects of changing temperatures on wildlife across the nation predict that, without action to reduce carbon pollution, the planet could warm by 7 to 10 degrees by the end of the century.
Co-author Doug Inkley said warming waters prevent algae growth, which is necessary for the survival of coral reefs.
More female sea turtles are born in warm weather.
"Algae cannot survive when it gets too warm so they - the coral- bleaches out as they die," he said. "Sometimes they can recover; sometimes they cannot."
Inkley said the NWF has evidence of reduced sea turtle nesting and a decrease in male turtle hatchlings. When sea turtle eggs are hatched at hotter temperatures, he said, females predominate.
The report predicts sea levels could rise by more than 6 feet by the end of this century. Inkley said Florida is at ground zero in some ways if that is the case.
"Climate change is a great concern across the nation, but very much so in Florida," he said. "It's a very low-elevation state. We are facing sea level rise now due to the melting of the polar ice caps."
Although the problems are serious, the report also indicates ways to curtail climate change, including reducing carbon emissions across the nation.
The report, "Wildlife in a Warming World," is online at nwf.org/climatecrisis.
- Florida News Connection