Nature in the north-east is at risk from climate change, according to a leading wildlife charity.
World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Scotland published a new report titled Scotland’s Nature on Red Alert, which looks into the pressure from climate change on biodiversity in the country.
Marine habits are one of the environments suffering from most obvious changes, including the rise in water temperature and sea levels.
In the north-east, recent monitoring at Stonehaven found a statistically significant decline in pH between 2008 and 2015, resulting in more acidic water and thereby harming the fish living off the north-east coast.
Rises in sea water level vary around the Scottish coast, however one of the longest records of sea level was based in Aberdeen.
From the 1920s to mid-1980s, there was no significant trends in sea water levels rising.
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However, since 1985, sea levels in Aberdeen have been more than 6cm higher than the 1920s baseline, and between 2006 and 2008, sea levels were higher than the 1920s by more than 10cm.
The report states that changes to sea water could “potentially lead to dramatic reductions in populations of species such as white-beaked dolphins, which need both cool and relatively shallow water.”
In freshwater, increases of water temperature were recorded at the Girnock Burn, just outside Ballater on Royal Deeside, which can have an impact on cold water-adapted species such as Atlantic salmon, trout and Arctic charr.
Dr Sam Gardner, acting director at WWF Scotland, said: “Scotland is rightly proud of its diverse and unique flora and fauna, but we need to wake up to the fact it is increasingly under threat from climate change.
“Nature is on the frontline of climate change. Even small increases in temperature threaten many of the plants and animals that give Scotland its iconic landscapes, but which we also depend on for food and pollination.
“That’s why it’s so important the Climate Change Bill going through Scottish Parliament is strengthened to ensure that, within a generation, we end our role in climate change entirely.”