Climate Change Impacts Florida’s Biodiversity

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Threshold and buffer effects
  3. Distribution Changes in geographical range
  4. Changes in Species Composition
  5. Looming Risk of Extinction
  6. Conclusion


The ecological system of Florida contains several distinct life forms with rarest species as compared to other ecosystems. Florida’s geographical location and longitudinal range makes it situated in a manner that almost all parts of South Florida have a tropical climate and the central and northern parts of Florida’s State is humid subtropical containing the Florida’s species with varying genetics in that ecosystem. Florida contains the highest amount of plant species as it is considered top six rich of the native plants families. The ecosystem contains large number of fern families in the United States with large number of orchid flora that are in varieties as well as the species of carnivorous plants that are densely populated in all of America northern part (Stys et al. 342-350).

The native invertebrates, fish and wildlife species in Florida exceed 16,000 with 147 species of endemic vertebrate and around 400 freshwater and terrestrial endemic invertebrates. The endangered species are currently 82 as per threatening or federal sectors in Florida. In addition, the state listed 59 species as threatening or endangering including four invertebrates, nine fish species, four amphibians, 21 birds, 13 reptiles and eight mammals.

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Florida has distinct scrub ecosystems of sandy, dry ridges containing the ultimate rank of endemism for terrestrial habitats in the United States’ South eastern part, with above 95 families of vertebrates, arthropods, lichens, plants, in addition to the Florida iconic scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (Stys et al. 342-350).

Coastal regions of Florida have vital habitat for several endangered species that include, each nesting birds, sea turtles, beach mice, seaside sparrows and several endemic plant families. Multiple of Florida’s most rare and variety of communities appear as small separated regions, for instance, springs, cutthroat seeps, seepage slopes, upland glades, Rockland hammocks and pine rock lands. Florida contains a highly diverse marine and estuarine habitat.

Florida is the only state in the U.S continent having the reef areas that are extremely shallow. The Florida Keys’ mild climate of tropical-maritime offers habitats for certain amount of marine and terrestrial animal and plant species that are globally unique (Petuch 1-5). The Florida Everglades supports 68 endangered and the threating species. In North America, the unique Okeechobee Lake ecosystem owing its shallowness and large and habitat diversity.

The climate change has significant effects on biodiversity. The rate at which the climate changes has numerous repercussions on biodiversity such that it may result to increased widespread reorganizations or extinctions in the ecosystem. Rapidly changing environmental climate is adversely known for overwhelming adaptation in the habitat. The populations and species that cannot adapt to such environment are mostly affected (Bellard et al. 365–377). The species distribution is already impacted by climate change and future changes in climate will even increase the effect.

The association amongst traits of individual species and their environment, the individual species functionality in the ecosystems, the function and structure of the environment, and the occurrence related evolution are significant for dealing with risks of the climate change to ecosystems (Steffen et al. 2009). These ecosystems are affected in such a way that the impacts on species may include distinction, distribution, food web disruptions, threshold and buffer effects as well as parasites, pathogens and diseases. The Florida climate change impacts are as discussed below.

Threshold and buffer effects

The ecosystem can be a buffer to extensive scenarios like drought, flood and wildfires. Human modification and the change in climate influence the habitat’s capability to temper the effects of high conditions, therefore, increasing the vulnerability to damage. For instance, Florida’s barrier islands and reefs that safeguard coastal habitat from wetland habitats that absorb floods, storm surges, and seasonal wildfires that burns additional forest debris and minimize the disadvantages of threatening large fires. A recent research study of Florida’s 300 species shows some chances for generalizing the distinct and synergistic dangers within a diversity of taxonomic classifications from within the Florida (Reece et al.).

Around 1,200 species surveyed by the Florida Natural regions have been exposed to possess about 50% of their lost to increased change in sea level of 1 metre. The huge dangers to species is fragmentation of anthropogenic habitat, although synergisms with dangers from change in climate are specifically risky for many species.

Distribution Changes in geographical range

In this sector Species distribution is highly spread through specific range of temperature and humidity levels, as these levels are crossed so will the necessity to change their migratory ways as well as how far they are forced to migrate from uninhabitable locations and unfavorable conditions. However, certain species may be unable to migrate as a result of having found no conducive habitats or having anthropogenic barriers hindering their movement.

Noss et al. (2014) discovered that almost three fourths of the 236 species at risk due to increase of sea level would be unable to migrate further inland, this is to say will increase in sea level as a result of drastic climate change may lead to an increase in ‘real estate’ to some species, the same will also limit the natural habitat of some species. Built in natural ecosystems that help in the migratory species such as moving air or water in the seas or oceans may result in the good and bad in terms of consequences as to whether there would be an increase in more energy spent or less energy spent per migration season.

Also, suppose there is a changing of such ecosystems like currents or winds, then this will hamper some species ability to relocate as they may end up in a wrong habitat. Nevertheless, those species that can adapt at multiple habitats may be less affected. Fish species are more vulnerable to changes in their ecosystems like reduction and or change of currents as it may limit their capacity to migrate to new waterways and or eradication of entire species as some species are unable to thrive on certain water temperatures. In addition to fish species being vulnerable, mud filters and feeders such as clams, oysters and mussels distribution may be affected when freshwater enter into the sea/oceans which eventually affects the seawater.

Changes in Species Composition

The change in climate can lead to several non- native and native species to rise in sufficient to an extent where they transform and negatively affect other existing habitat and ecosystems. The response of the species to changing ecosystem circumstances may lead to shifts in composition which often affects the food chain in a habitat such as altering significant competitive and predator–prey associations that can minimize regional or local biodiversity.

Aquatic systems’ factors, like changes in thermal conditions, salinity or flow regimes can change the competitive associations or predator–prey interaction within species in manners which are detrimental to families of transformation issue. The function and structure of coastal ecosystems may transform as species with a higher adaptation of raised salinity outcompete the ones with limited tolerance; these effective changes in the family structure may be episodic, greatly resulting to eradication of certain habitat if thresholds are passed.

The marine ecosystems, induced change in climate in habitat composition and food web structure may be caused by shifts in ecological niches for single species which is important (Harley et al. 2006). Temperature change can affect key species associations whereby tinny changes in climate can produce huge transformation in natural habitat.

For instance, a reduced in key predator size. In freshwater inflow, seasonal changes can be a simulative factor that may cause changes in habitat composition of mangrove fishes in gradients of estuarine.

Looming Risk of Extinction

Reece et al. said that there is sufficient data showing species possibly of extinction but very little information as to how to develop conservation help. The survival ability of most species is subjective to human interference to the natural landscape and their perceptions for climate change risks should be important.

Reece et al. filed a wholesome list of records of possible response to change in climate or increase in sea level in about 90% of the 300 species. Of those surveyed 30% showed higher anthropogenic geographic hindrances that would limit their ability to move habitat in response to climate change. The results of climate change on species is highly likely to lead in changes in geographic range, the composition of species and species.

Those species with in effective dispersal ability as well as long time for regeneration or long time to mature as well as poor genetic variability with low tolerance to change in their habitual environment are most likely to be affected by climate change and are most vulnerable to climate change.

Several general families like (Odocoileus virginianus) white-tailed deer or (Sus scrofa) feral hogs; may continuously thrive in a climate change. Species, both exotic and the native having characters that help in colonizing or invading disturbed region may survive in a rapid climate change. Species mechanism for adaptation such as changing their climatic niche by adapting to their range physiology and phenology (Bellard et al 2012). Various models have been used to predict the upcoming biodiversity and realized that most model showed important repercussions for biodiversity. The worst scenarios showed results of rates of extinction that could cover sixth mass extinction on Earth (Bellard et al. 2012).


The climate change has been diversely affecting the species and their ecosystems. In Florida, most of the locations’ climate is humid subtropical. The most common influenced environmental conditions lead to species migration to other places, interchanged distribution, the food chain interruptions and even extreme impacts such as species extinction. These impacts are often predicted by the models that are mostly controlled by the analyst employed by federal government. This is to know the climate change and upcoming impacts that may lead to loss species or environmental composition change. The predictions are always used by federal to prevent natural climatic disasters which may cause damage to the habitat.

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Climate Change Impacts Florida’s Biodiversity. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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