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Bioluminescence diversity, ecology and applications in conservation

Adapting to a Warming World: Modeling the Future Distribution of Marine Bioluminescent Species in Response to Climate Change

Takishita, T.k.e.1, Amaral, D.t.1

1Universidade Federal do ABC, Brazil

E-mail: thais.takishita@aluno.ufabc.edu.br

Bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon characterized by the emission of light from living organisms due to a chemical reaction. Although bioluminescent species exist both on land and in marine environments, they predominantly inhabit the ocean's deeper layers. This phenomenon plays a crucial role in the marine ecosystem, aiding in defense against predators, facilitating communication, and attracting prey. Research into bioluminescence has revealed its benefits and applications in fields such as Biotechnology, Medicine, and Engineering. However, despite their significance, bioluminescent species face threats from climate change and ocean pollution, which directly impact their behaviors and the marine ecosystem. The conservation of these species is vital to prevent ecosystem collapse, underscoring their importance in the food chain, carbon and nitrogen cycles, and biodiversity. Here, we modeled the distribution of marine bioluminescent species, focusing on the effects of changes in temperature, precipitation, and other abiotic marine conditions that affect species occurrence. We modeled the species distribution of 10 species, from distinct Classes, across three time periods (current, 2050, and 2100), based on less (ssp126) and more (ssp585) catastrophic environmental scenarios following the SSP (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways) diagnoses. For 2050, the conditions appeared not to be alarming; however, we observed a distribution shift towards the northern part of the globe. By 2100, many species showed a concerning reduction in distribution of 30%-40% relative to their current distribution. These results may indicate an increase in temperature in the tropics and near the North Pole, as well as changes in marine currents, which directly affect the distribution of these species. Such analyses illuminate the dynamics of bioluminescent species and their relationship with the environment. They aim to understand how these species are adapting to or facing challenges due to climate change. This information is crucial for informing conservation policies and adaptation strategies to promote the sustainability of ocean ecosystems for future generations.

Keywords: Bioluminescence, Climate Changes, Conservation, Species distribution modelling

Acknowledgments: FAPESP 2022/09910-9; UFABC, and PIBIC.

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