Last updated October 10, 2018

Global imprint of climate change on marine life

  • 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