Climate Change: Biodiversity Impact

Climate change can impact the pattern of marine biodiversity through changes in species’ distributions. However, global studies on climate change impacts on ocean biodiversity have not been performed so far. This study aimed to investigate the global patterns of such impacts by projecting the distributional ranges of a sample of 1066 exploited marine fish and invertebrates for 2050 using a newly developed dynamic bioclimate envelope model. Our projections show that climate change may lead to numerous local extinctions in the sub-polar regions, the tropics and semi-enclosed seas. Simultaneously, species invasion is projected to be most intense in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean. Together, they result in dramatic species turnovers of over 60% of the present biodiversity, implying ecological disturbances that potentially disrupt ecosystem services. Relevant publication: Cheung et al. (2009) “Projecting global marine biodiversity impacts under climate change scenarios” Fish and Fisheries 10: 235-251

Predicted distribution of biodiversity impacts due to warming-induced shifts in ecological ranges of exploited marine fish and invertebrates. The biodiversity impact is expressed in terms of:

(a) invasion intensity;
(b) local extinction intensity;
(c) species turnover for the 1066 species of fish and invertebrates in 2050 relative to the mean of 2001–2005 (high-range climate change scenario). Intensity is express as proportional to the initial species richness in each ½ degree x ½ degree cell.