`Global warming upsetting biological clock of species`

Last Updated: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 14:14

New Delhi: Global warming is disrupting the biological clocks of many animal species and changes in them are unnatural and unlike than their usual activities of reproduction and habitation, environmentalists say.

Naturalist Raza H Tehsin and his daughter Udaipur`s Wildlife Warden Arefa Tehsin studied the behavioural changes in birds, snakes and fish and concluded that global warming was upsetting their biological clock.

According to B C Choudhury, honorary advisor of the Marine Conservation Division of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), the changes in many species are more apparent on the global warming sea level rise, changes in temperature and tidal cycles.

"Predicting the change will be significant in the coastal areas. Also with climate change, the phenological cycle will change of the plants particularly in the higher altitude areas many of insects and nectar-feeding birds that breed in these areas, their feeding regime will also change. Therefore their biological and breeding cycles will also change," Choudhury said.

The Tehsins say that four species of murrel fish (Chenna species) are found in Udaipur district. It is a kind of fish which can breathe in water as well as take air directly from the atmosphere. Also it makes its nest in underwater weeds, plants or some sheltered corner and lays eggs there.

"In the rivers, it lays eggs between May and June. During this time the force of water is less and the eggs don`t get carried away in the current. As the danger of eggs flowing away is lesser in lakes, murrel breeds during July to August as well," says Arefa.

"They generally prefer shallow waters with moss and weeds. At short intervals brood comes to the surface to take air. Till the time they grow up, both the parents look after them. Another intriguing fact is that the parents keep devouring the fingerlings now and then. Rest of the times they sustain themselves on frogs, small fish and other water creatures."

Raza says murrel`s behaviour has also been affected by
global warming to a great extent.

"Their breeding season is over, and yet not only do they continue to lay eggs in Chambal river and its tributaries this year but have also have been observed at many places with their broods.

"In the same context, in the region of Chambal, the migratory duck pintail comes from north - the cold region of Antarctic - in the beginning of October. This year it was seen in large numbers in the month of September itself," Raza says.

"Peacock and grey partridge whose chicks are seen from February to July, have started to breed again in September and their chicks can be seen at this time of the year. There are mothers with semi-adults and baby chicks, both together.

"The temperature and humidity is so high for the reptiles that the snakes have begun breeding again. Especially some cobras, kraits and rat snakes were seen in pairs and seem ready to attack. Not only this, there has been a rise in snakebites also," Raza further says.

The UN Convention on Migratory Species had recently pointed out that global warming threatens the migratory habits of many animals such as birds, turtles, dolphins or whales.

"Global warming disrupts the biological clocks of these animals. Many of these species then begin their migration at the wrong time or not at the start because they do not perceive the passage from one season to another.

"In this way threatens the reproduction of many species that require certain conditions to their reproductive process, such is the case for example of the Monarch Butterfly coming to Mexico to play," it says.
Climate change, according to the Convention, definitely affects all species and more to migratory species.

"The increase in sea level will also be a factor in the disappearance of many species will be sentenced to life their natural habitats or breeding."

PTI

First Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 14:14
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