Sep 30, 2013

Global imprint of climate change on marine life

Elvira S. Poloczanska, Christopher J. Brown, William J. Sydeman, Wolfgang Kiessling, David S. Schoeman, Pippa J. Moore, Keith Brander, John F. Bruno, Lauren B. Buckley, Michael T. Burrows, Carlos M. Duarte, Benjamin S. Halpern et al
Nature Climate Change
  • Synthesizes all available studies of the consistency of marine ecological observations with expectations under climate change
  • Analysis yields a meta-database of 1,735 marine biological responses for which either regional or global climate change was considered as a driver
  • Finds from this database, 81–83% of all observations for distribution, phenology, community composition, abundance, demography and calcification across taxa and ocean basins were consistent with the expected impacts of climate change
  • Finds that of the species responding to climate change, rates of distribution shifts were, on average, consistent with those required to track ocean surface temperature changes
  • Does not find a relationship between regional shifts in spring phenology and the seasonality of temperature
  • Finds that rates of observed shifts in species’ distributions and phenology are comparable to, or greater, than those for terrestrial systems
  • Finds the mean rate of species shift was 72 kilometers per decade, with some highly mobile or dispersive organisms expanding at rates up to 470 kilometers per decades