Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Recent shifts in the geographic distribution of marine species have been linked to shifts in preferred thermal habitats. These shifts in distribution have already posed challenges for living marine resource management, and there is a strong need for projections of how species might be impacted by future changes in ocean temperatures during the 21st century. We modeled thermal habitat for 686 marine species in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans using long-term ecological survey data from the North American continental shelves. These habitat models were coupled to output from sixteen general circulation models that were run under high (RCP 8.5) and low (RCP 2.6) future greenhouse gas emission scenarios over the 21st century to produce 32 possible future outcomes for each species. The models generally agreed on the magnitude and direction of future shifts for some species (448 or 429 under RCP 8.5 and RCP 2.6, respectively), but strongly disagreed for other species (116 or 120 respectively). This allowed us to identify species with more or less robust predictions. Future shifts in species distributions were generally poleward and followed the coastline, but also varied among regions and species. Species from the U.S. and Canadian west coast including the Gulf of Alaska had the highest projected magnitude shifts in distribution, and many species shifted more than 1000 km under the high greenhouse gas emissions scenario. Following a strong mitigation scenario consistent with the Paris Agreement would likely produce substantially smaller shifts and less disruption to marine management efforts. Our projections offer an important tool for identifying species, fisheries, and management efforts that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Climate Change, Ecology, Species Distribution
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Data available from the Dryad Digital Repository: https://doi.org/10. 5061/dryad.1m2vn52.
: Funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts (#28295), the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA’s “FY14 Understanding Climate Impacts on Fish Stocks and Fisheries to Inform Sustainable Management” initiative (Competition OAR-CPO-2014-2004106 and the Office of Science and Technology), NSF #OCE-1426891 and #DEB1616821. RLS is supported by an NSF OCE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (#OCE1521565). RJL acknowledges support provided by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (#NA14NMF4740362). TLF acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation grant #PP00P2_170687. TLF, RLS, and MLP received support from the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program. This research was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR) under Cooperative Agreement NA14OAR4320158. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Morley, J. W.; Selden, R. L.; Latour, Robert J.; Frolicher, T. L.; Seagraves, R. J.; and Pinsky, M. L., Projecting shifts in thermal habitat for 686 species on the North American continental shelf (2018). PLoS One.