Climate change disrupts core habitats of marine species

Hodapp D, Roca IT, Fiorentino D, Garilao C, Kaschner K, Kesner-Reyes K, Schneider B, Segschneider J, Kocsis Á, Kießling W, Brey T, Froese R (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16612


Driven by climate change, marine biodiversity is undergoing a phase of rapid change that has proven to be even faster than changes observed in terrestrial ecosystems. Understanding how these changes in species composition will affect future marine life is crucial for conservation management, especially due to increasing demands for marine natural resources. Here, we analyse predictions of a multiparameter habitat suitability model covering the global projected ranges of >33,500 marine species from climate model projections under three CO2 emission scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP8.5) up to the year 2100. Our results show that the core habitat area will decline for many species, resulting in a net loss of 50% of the core habitat area for almost half of all marine species in 2100 under the high-emission scenario RCP8.5. As an additional consequence of the continuing distributional reorganization of marine life, gaps around the equator will appear for 8% (RCP2.6), 24% (RCP4.5), and 88% (RCP8.5) of marine species with cross-equatorial ranges. For many more species, continuous distributional ranges will be disrupted, thus reducing effective population size. In addition, high invasion rates in higher latitudes and polar regions will lead to substantial changes in the ecosystem and food web structure, particularly regarding the introduction of new predators. Overall, our study highlights that the degree of spatial and structural reorganization of marine life with ensued consequences for ecosystem functionality and conservation efforts will critically depend on the realized greenhouse gas emission pathway.

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Hodapp, D., Roca, I.T., Fiorentino, D., Garilao, C., Kaschner, K., Kesner-Reyes, K.,... Froese, R. (2023). Climate change disrupts core habitats of marine species. Global Change Biology.


Hodapp, Dorothee, et al. "Climate change disrupts core habitats of marine species." Global Change Biology (2023).

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