by E. Worrall, Dec 17, 2022 in WUWT
My question – which part of this real world story of ecological disaster and recovery shouts fragile food web?
In my opinion the European supercomputer food web experiment is way too unrealistic to draw real world conclusions. New connections in the real world food web appear all the time, no food resource remains underutilised for long, even when the underutilised resource is a deadly toxic toad. Any breaks in the food web caused by climate change or disease or whatever, in the real world are rapidly filled.
There are a handful of species which are so specialised they actually would die if their food source was removed. For example, Koala Bears are so specialised at eating Eucalyptus leaves, they would likely all die if say a Eucalypt version of Dutch Elm Disease killed off all the Eucalyptus trees.
But are 17.6% of vertebrate species so specialised they cannot adapt to a small change in temperature? Are 27% of vertebrates about to die out? That seems highly implausible.
A few degrees of warming, if it occurs, is not an asteroid scale ecological catastrophe, or a million year duration volcanic eruption, it is a mild shift in climatic conditions, which life will have no problem adapting to if the paleo record is any guide. Just like life has already adapted to the many climatic shifts, introduced species and other disruptions which have occurred in Earth’s geological past.