Climate-Change Induced Species Invasions and Extirpations in Regional Seas

W. Cheung, V. Lam, J. L. Sarmiento, K. Kearney, R. Watson, D. Pauly, V. Christensen, (2011). “Climate-Change Induced Species Invasions and Extirpations in Regional Seas,” Fisheries Centre Research Report No. 19 (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada).

Climate change will impact the pattern of marine biodiversity through, among other things, changes in species distributions. So far, however, global studies on climate change impacts on ocean biodiversity have been scarce to non-existent. Here, we show that climate change impact can be analyzed by projecting the distributional ranges of a large sample of exploited marine fish and invertebrates to the year 2050, by using a recently developed dynamic bioclimate envelope model. Our projections show that climate change may lead to numerous extirpations (i.e., local extinctions) in the sub-polar regions, the tropics and semienclosed seas. Simultaneously, species invasions are projected to be most common in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean. Jointly, extirpations and invasions result in a dramatic species turnover of over 60% of the present biodiversity, implying ecological disturbances that will likely reduce the ecosystem services that are presently provided by the various Regional Seas.