Researchers have found that marine heat waves are changing microorganisms which is having ripple effects across the rest of the food chain.

A CSIRO led study investigated a 2015/16 marine heatwave event off the east coast of Tasmania and its effect on microorganisms.

While the 2015/16 heatwave event was the worst on record, they are becoming more common in south east Australia, one is even happening now.

The study found the warmer waters changed the microorganisms to suit a warmer climate which can lead to a change in what marine life that can be found in that region.

Lead author Dr Mark Brown says they have seen the warmer water change microorganisms to become more tropical like what can be found off the coast of Queensland.

Dr Lev Bodrossy from the CSIRO says the change in microorganisms will force marine life to seek food elsewhere, changing the fish stock in the region.

The study also found the changes to microorganisms can lead to carbon reentering the atmosphere.

Marine carbon sequestration is hindered because organisms are too small for the bigger fish to eat meaning the ocean will be absorbing less carbon.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature’s Communications Biology.

(IMAGE: Tasmania, Andy Tyler,