But now the species may disappear within a few decades due to global warming. This claim is made in a study published by the magazine Nature Climate Change, which specifies that the plant may have become extinct by 2050. Researchers of the 'Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avanats' of the Balearic Islands have examined data on the increased dying of tapeweed due to rising water temperatures and have tried to estimate the effects of a relatively optimistic scenario in which the production of greenhouse gases stabilises after 2050. In the worst case, assuming that apart from the rising temperatures the species also continues to face direct damage due to human activities, 90% of the tapeweed is expected to have died by 2049: ''Even if we manage to reduce the human contribution to zero,'' the authors write, ''rising water temperatures on their own would reduce populations to 10% by 2053. The only thing we can do to protect this ecosystem is to mitigate the greenhouse effect at once.'' Fields of tapeweed protect the coasts against erosion and form a natural habitat for many marine animal and plant species.
According to a recent study published by the magazine Plos One, the oldest specimens, reproducing by cloning, may be thousands of years old. The same study also found that populations are falling at a rate of 5% per year due to warming. (ANSAmed).