Francisco Ramírez, Isabel Afán, Lloyd S. Davis, André Chiaradia

Science Advances

Published date February 22, 2017

Climate impacts on global hot spots of marine biodiversity

  • Examines global distributions of 1729 species of fish, 124 marine mammals, and 330 seabirds
  • Identifies six marine regions ("hot spots") of exceptional biodiversity
    • Defines hot spots as regions of marine biodiversity with values of species richness over the upper 95th percentile, which was a threshold that identified relatively small and compact marine areas of special concern within the main ocean basins (that is, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean)
  • Examines more than three decades’ worth of information on sea surface temperature (SST), ocean currents, and marine productivity
  • Derives spatially explicit information on the cumulative impacts of climate change
  • Finds that overall, hot spots of marine biodiversity coincide with areas most severely affected by global warming
  • Investigates spatiotemporal variation in fishing captures using Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data spanning the last 60 years
  • Results suggest that hot spots of marine biodiversity are also among areas most threatened by both global warming and human fishing pressure
  • Results can guide targeted conservation at the local, regional, and global scale