Climate change has been a major concern globally directly causing temperature change and also harming the flora and fauna (Caviccohioli et al., 2019). The research has been focused to determine the impacts of climate change and the rising temperatures on the growth of flora and fauna. The rise in temperature has also accelerated the melting of ice in the polar regions of Arctic and Antarctica and has therefore promoted vegetation growth (Hoffmann et al., 2019). In this document, I will critically analyse a comprehensive case study derived from a study by Robbinson et al. (2018) “Rapidly drying mosses in response to climate change “published in Nature Climate change. The study focuses on the change in the vegetation of Antarctica due to climate change. This paper will provide a brief synopsis of the impact generated and evaluate the outcomes achieved by the study.
Research impact of a study is defined as the contribution that the research makes on the society, economy, environment or culture beyond its inputs in the academic sciences (Greenhalgh et al., 2016). Assessment of research impact is crucial as it helps in the determination of research outcomes through potential applications in the ecological, financial, social, or cultural systems. The provided study directly impacts the ecological, sustainable, and financial aspects of modern society as it keeps factors like plant growth and vegetation, climate change, and global warming in an essential consideration (Derrick, 2018).
Climate change and global warming have resulted in melting of the ice cap allowing the vegetation to grow on the fresh land exposed. This land in the polar regions is largely occupied by the mosses that can effectively survive in the harsh and cold climate of the polar regions. The plant systems in Antarctica have been monitored only in thirteen years (2000-2013) and it reveals that the moss beds in East Antarctica that lie closer to the Casey Islands in Australia have been struck by the climate change resulting in their drying. This change in the vegetation has been attributed to the ozone depletion and climate change. The study has provided a detailed history of the changing climate of the region along with novel techniques that can be applied to determine the locations in Antarctica that are at high risk of exposure and more susceptible to the effects of climate change that can cause drying up of the mosses. The research has been fundamental in identifying the impact of climate change on the moss vegetation Schistidium antarctici which is endemic to the landmass of Antarctica. The study reveals that 40% of the 18 dated moss cores indicated a drying trend over the recent decades signalling towards the development of a dry environment. The researchers also assert that the impact of climate change on the plant community in the near future will be dependent on international allied efforts established by the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement.
The essential beneficiaries that have been identified in the study are the members of the community that are associated with several outreach materials and are interested in understanding how the plant growth and vegetation functions in Antarctica and the individuals who preserve a climate record. The international politicians and the organizations that have worked in closely with Antarctica and have visited Antarctic Base Escudero for scientific exploration. Several agencies and reports that have been concerned with the climate change like SoE, ASPA, UNEP, etc. have also been directly benefited by this analysis as it provides crucial insights about the Antarctic biodiversity, and researchers and collaborators involved in the study who have been able to advance their technical capacities and improve their skills.
I have analyzed this study based on the recency and relevance of the aim and the research impact. The primary research question of this study is clear and concise, that is, “investigate how Antarctic coastal climate is changing and how this affects terrestrial biodiversity”. The study is highly relevant as climate change is a major challenge that is directly impacting the entire globe. The study is focused on the vegetation of Antarctica that is occupied by the mosses. I found the analysis to be highly relevant and foundational as it claims to be the only study highlighting the impact of climate change and ozone depletion in Antarctica. The study is also closely linked and affects the sustainable development goals established by the United Nations and affects the sustainable development goal 9, “Industry, innovation and infrastructure”, sustainable development goal 13, “climate change” and, sustainable development goal 15 “life on land” (Hák et al., 2016).
The study is also coherent with natural and chemical sciences providing a convergence for the biological, environmental, and chemical sciences translating the research outc0omes in the real world for an effective impact. The impact of the study was generated through the combinatorial efforts of the team. Further, possession of a clear and articulate approach for the analysis must have also assisted in developing an impactful analysis. The research also highlights how the Windmill Islands of Eastern Antarctica possess certain species that are more than 500 years old and were preserved in the water environments. The records and data about these species are highly limited and the impact of climate change on these can lead to the extensive loss.
In my opinion, the beneficiaries of this study have been significantly rewarded. The members of the community that possess an essential interest in climate change and vegetation in Antarctica gathered knowledge about how climate change and ozone depletion is causing drying of the moss vegetation. This can help in the development of future research and further analysis of the phenomenon like impact on the microbiome and differences observed against the trends in vegetation change due to climate change (Vallet et al., 2016). The international politicians and the individuals who had an opportunity to tour and witness the Antarctic Base Escudero achieved a “hands-on experience” for the observed change. The agencies and organizations that were able to incorporate these findings were benefited by improving their knowledge and content through the inclusion of fundamental research, enhancing the credibility and engagement of these reports (Landers et al., 2016). The researchers benefitted through professional development and a digital artist involved with the team also benefitted by enhancing his communication, media, and social skills.
This critical reflection provided essential insights into a highly crucial study that focused on how climate change is impacting the biodiversity and vegetation in Antarctica. The study elucidated that the moss vegetation that is highly endemic to Antarctica is drying due to the progression of climate change. This reflection provides a concise summary of the study and identifies its impact. Further, this paper also presents an analysis and evaluation of this study by assessing how and what impact was generated by this study.
The primary strength of this study is its high relevance and potential for a massive impact. Since climate change and biodiversity loss are one of the essential global concerns, this study highlights the potential and risks of climate change is impacting a highly endemic niche. I think the impact of this research is highly significant and will be crucial in future for the development of policies for the conversation of the vegetation in east Antarctica that appears to be at a high risk of erosion by climate change dynamics.
Cavicchioli, R., Ripple, W. J., Timmis, K. N., Azam, F., Bakken, L. R., Baylis, M., ... & Crowther, T. W. (2019). Scientists’ warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 17(9), 569-586.
Derrick, G. (2018). The evaluators’ eye: Impact assessment and academic peer review. United kingdom: Springer.
Greenhalgh, T., Raftery, J., Hanney, S., & Glover, M. (2016). Research impact: a narrative review. BMC Medicine, 14(1), 78.
Hák, T., Janoušková, S., & Moldan, B. (2016). Sustainable Development Goals: A need for relevant indicators. Ecological Indicators, 60, 565-573.
Hoffmann, A. A., Rymer, P. D., Byrne, M., Ruthrof, K. X., Whinam, J., McGeoch, M., ... & Hill, S. J. (2019). Impacts of recent climate change on terrestrial flora and fauna: Some emerging Australian examples. Austral Ecology, 44(1), 3-27.
Landers, D. H., Nahlik, A. M., & Rhodes, C. R. (2016). The beneficiary perspective: benefits and beyond. In Routledge handbook of ecosystem services (pp. 74-87). United Kingdom: Routledge.
Robinson, S. A., King, D. H., Bramley-Alves, J., Waterman, M. J., Ashcroft, M. B., Wasley, J., ... & Mullany, K. (2018). Rapid change in East Antarctic terrestrial vegetation in response to regional drying. Nature Climate Change, 8(10), 879-884.
Vallet, A., Locatelli, B., Levret, H., & Dendoncker, N. (2016). Interactions between stakeholders and ecosystems: social networks, power, beneficiaries, and agents of change. Ecosystem Services Partnerships. 14(1), 78
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