Australia's seaweed are shifting south to beat the heat.
- The seaweeds can only go as far as the south coast - if that area gets too warm they will go extinct.
- As much as 25 percent of temperate species in Australia could go extinct by 2070.
Swathes of Australia's seaweed are shifting south to escape warming oceans, and many risk going extinct, a new study has found.
Marine ecologist Dr Thomas Wernberg, of the University of Western Australia, and colleagues, report their findings today in Current Biology.
"Temperate species are moving to cooler environments," says Wernberg.
"In Australia there are no cooler environments beyond the south coast, so if they are pushed to go beyond that they basically go extinct."
While a lot of attention has been paid to the impact of climate change on corals, Wernberg says the impact on seaweed has been neglected.
He says while seaweeds might seem mundane they are an important habitat and food resource for underwater animals and plants.
"Just as trees in the forest provide living space for birds and other animals, so do the seaweeds in the oceans. There's a large amount of biodiversity associated with seaweeds," says Wernberg.