Thursday, 10 September 2015

Ocean warming will cause marine species to relocate

The warming of the oceans will cause marine species to relocate, generally toward the poles, in pursuit of water temperatures that suit them, new research indicates.

The study, by scientists from UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), suggests suggests that by the end of this century warming of the oceans will result in significant global redistribution of marine life, which in turn will increase biodiversity in many areas, and extinctions in others; creating new kinds of communities that are less distinct from one another.

"Climate change is going to reshuffle marine biodiversity, creating novel communities," said Ben Halpern, a professor at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and an NCEAS associate. "Our results predict what these changes will look like, but there is a lot we still don't know about what the changes will mean for biodiversity and for people who depend on that biodiversity -- for instance, in terms of seafood and economies linked to ocean tourism."

In conducting the study, the researchers projected ocean temperatures and then modelled how nearly 13,000 species - more than 12 times the number of species previously assessed - followed changing temperatures into future locations. 

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