Article | Published:

Future vulnerability of marine biodiversity compared with contemporary and past changes

Nature Climate Change volume 5, pages 695701 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Many studies have implied significant effects of global climate change on marine life. Setting these alterations into the context of historical natural change has not been attempted so far, however. Here, using a theoretical framework, we estimate the sensitivity of marine pelagic biodiversity to temperature change and evaluate its past (mid-Pliocene and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM)), contemporaneous (1960–2013) and future (2081–2100; 4 scenarios of warming) vulnerability. Our biodiversity reconstructions were highly correlated to real data for several pelagic taxa for the contemporary and the past (LGM and mid-Pliocene) periods. Our results indicate that local species loss will be a prominent phenomenon of climate warming in permanently stratified regions, and that local species invasion will prevail in temperate and polar biomes under all climate change scenarios. Although a small amount of warming under the RCP2.6 scenario is expected to have a minor influence on marine pelagic biodiversity, moderate warming (RCP4.5) will increase by threefold the changes already observed over the past 50 years. Of most concern is that severe warming (RCP6.0 and 8.5) will affect marine pelagic biodiversity to a greater extent than temperature changes that took place between either the LGM or the mid-Pliocene and today, over an area of between 50 (RCP6.0: 46.9–52.4%) and 70% (RCP8.5: 69.4–73.4%) of the global ocean.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Climate impact on plankton ecosystems in the northeast Atlantic. Science 305, 1609–1612 (2004).

  2. 2.

    & Impact of climate change on marine pelagic phenology and trophic mismatch. Nature 430, 881–884 (2004).

  3. 3.

    , , & Climate change and distribution shifts in marine fishes. Science 308, 1912–1915 (2005).

  4. 4.

    , , , & Reorganisation of North Atlantic marine copepod biodiversity and climate. Science 296, 1692–1694 (2002).

  5. 5.

    & Calanus and environment in the eastern North Atlantic. II. Influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on C. finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 134, 111–118 (1996).

  6. 6.

    Marine Biodiversity, Climatic Variability and Global Change (Routledge, 2015).

  7. 7.

    , & Towards an understanding of the pattern of biodiversity in the oceans. Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 22, 440–449 (2013).

  8. 8.

    , , & Marine biological shifts and climate. Proc. R. Soc. B 281, 20133350 (2014).

  9. 9.

    Unanticipated biological changes and global warming. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 445, 293–301 (2012).

  10. 10.

    Theoretical basis for predicting climate-induced abrupt shifts in the oceans. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370, 20130264 (2014).

  11. 11.

    Concluding remarks. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 22, 415–427 (1957).

  12. 12.

    The Struggle for Coexistence (MD: Williams and Wilkins, 1934).

  13. 13.

    et al. Projecting global marine biodiversity impacts under climate change scenarios. Fish Fish. 10, 235–251 (2009).

  14. 14.

    , & Modelled spatial distribution of marine fish and projected modifications in the North Atlantic Ocean. Glob. Change Biol. 17, 115–129 (2011).

  15. 15.

    et al. The pace of shifting climate in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Science 334, 652–655 (2011).

  16. 16.

    et al. Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity. Nature 507, 492–496 (2014).

  17. 17.

    , & Applying the concept of the ecological niche and a macroecological approach to understand how climate influences zooplankton: Advantages, assumptions, limitations and requirements. Prog. Oceanogr. 111, 75–90 (2013).

  18. 18.

    , , & The Brown University Foraminiferal Data Base IGBP PAGES/World Data Center-A for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series # 1999–027 (NOAA/NGDC Paleoclimatology Program, 1999).

  19. 19.

    et al. Global patterns and predictors of marine biodiversity across taxa. Nature 466, 1098–1101 (2010).

  20. 20.

    et al. Global latitudinal variations in marine copepod diversity and environmental factors. Proc. R. Soc. B 276, 3053–3062 (2009).

  21. 21.

    & Critical vulnerabilities of marine and sea ice-based ecosystems in the high Arctic. Reg. Environ. Change 11, S239–S248 (2011).

  22. 22.

    El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomena. Nature 302, 295–301 (1983).

  23. 23.

    & Empirical evidence for North Pacific regime shifts in 1977 and 1989. Prog. Oceanogr. 47, 103–145 (2000).

  24. 24.

    , & The North Atlantic Oscillation. Science 291, 603–605 (2001).

  25. 25.

    et al. Large bio-geographical shifts in the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean: From the subpolar gyre, via plankton, to blue whiting and pilot whales. Prog. Oceanogr. 80, 149–162 (2009).

  26. 26.

    et al. The Continuous Plankton Recorder: Concepts and history, from plankton indicator to undulating recorders. Prog. Oceanogr. 58, 117–173 (2003).

  27. 27.

    & Climate induced increases in species richness of marine fishes. Glob. Change Biol. 14, 453–460 (2008).

  28. 28.

    , & Marine biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the carbon cycles. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 10120–10124 (2010).

  29. 29.

    , , , & Refugia of marine fish in the northeast Atlantic during the last glacial maximum: Concordant assessment from archaeozoology and palaeotemperature reconstructions. Clim. Past 7, 181–201 (2011).

  30. 30.

    et al. Ice-age survival of Atlantic cod: Agreement between palaecology models and genetics. Proc. R. Soc. B 275, 163–172 (2008).

  31. 31.

    et al. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination. Science 291, 112–114 (2001).

  32. 32.

    , , & Refining the eustatic sea-level curve since the Last Glacial Maximum using far- and intermediate-field sites. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 163, 327–342 (1998).

  33. 33.

    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (eds Solomon, S.et al.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).

  34. 34.

    , , , & Latitudinal species diversity gradient of marine zooplankton for the last three million years. Ecol. Lett. 15, 1174–1179 (2012).

  35. 35.

    , & Surface temperatures of the Mid-Pliocene North Atlantic Ocean: Implications for future climate. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 367, 69–84 (2009).

  36. 36.

    , , & Mid-Pliocene warmth: Stronger greenhouse and stronger conveyor. Mar. Micropaleontol. 27, 313–326 (1996).

  37. 37.

    & Pliocene role in assessing future climate impacts. Eos 89, 500–502 (2008).

  38. 38.

    et al. High tide of the warm Pliocene: Implications of global sea level for Antarctic deglaciation. Geology 40, 407–410 (2012).

  39. 39.

    et al. Mid-pliocene Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation not unlike modern. Clim. Past 9, 1495–1504 (2013).

  40. 40.

    et al. Past, present, and future changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 93, 1663–1676 (2012).

  41. 41.

    , & Global phytoplankton decline over the past century. Nature 466, 591–596 (2010).

  42. 42.

    et al. Phylogenetic biome conservatism on a global scale. Nature 458, 754–756 (2009).

  43. 43.

    , & in Paleoclimate, Global Change and the Future (eds Alverson, K. D., Bradley, R. S. & Pedersen, T. F.) 81–111 (Springer, 2003).

  44. 44.

    et al. A multivariate approach to large-scale variation in marine planktonic copepod diversity and its environmental correlates. Limnol. Oceanogr. 55, 2219–2229 (2010).

  45. 45.

    , , & The future of biodiversity. Science 269, 347–350 (1995).

  46. 46.

    , , & Improvements to NOAA’s historical merged land–ocean surface temperature analysis (1880–2006). J. Clim. 21, 2283–2296 (2008).

  47. 47.

    et al. The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment. Nature 463, 747–756 (2010).

  48. 48.

    et al. The RCP greenhouse gas concentrations and their extensions from 1765 to 2300. Climatic Change 109, 213–241 (2011).

  49. 49.

    et al. Glacial North Atlantic 18,000 years ago: A climap reconstruction. Geol. Soc. Am. Mem. 145, 43–76 (1976).

  50. 50.

    & Modeling the water masses of the Atlantic Ocean at the Last Glacial Maximum. Paleoceanography 18, 1058 (2003).

  51. 51.

    et al. Glacial North Atlantic: Sea-surface conditions reconstructed by GLAMAP 2000. Paleoceanography 18, 1065 (2003).

  52. 52.

    & A new planktic foraminifer transfer function for estimating Pliocene–Holocene paleoceanographic conditions in the North Atlantic. Mar. Micropaleontol. 16, 1–23 (1990).

  53. 53.

    , & Pliocene three-dimensional global ocean temperature reconstruction. Clim. Past 5, 769–783 (2009).

  54. 54.

    , , & Mid-Piacenzian mean annual sea surface temperature analysis for data-model comparisons. Stratigraphy 7, 189–198 (2010).

  55. 55.

    et al. Latitudinal species diversity gradient of marine zooplankton for the last three million years. Dryad Digital Repository 10.5061/dryad.dc139 (2012).

  56. 56.

    , , & Biodiversity of North Atlantic and North Sea calanoid copepods. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 204, 299–303 (2000).

  57. 57.

    in Marine Macroecology (eds Witman, J. D. & Roy, K.) Ch. 1, 3–28 (The Univ. Chicago Press, 2009).

  58. 58.

    An Introduction to Population Ecology (Yale Univ. Press, 1978).

  59. 59.

    The latitudinal gradient in geographic range: How so many species coexist in the tropics. Am. Nat. 133, 240–256 (1989).

  60. 60.

    , , , & Causes and projections of abrupt climate-driven ecosystem shifts in the North Atlantic. Ecol. Lett. 11, 1157–1168 (2008).

  61. 61.

    , & Thermal tolerance and the global redistribution of animals. Nature Clim. Change1–5 (2012).

  62. 62.

    et al. Changing zooplankton seasonality in a changing ocean: Comparing time series of zooplankton phenology. Prog. Oceanogr. 97–100, 31–62 (2012).

  63. 63.

    , , & Climate change impact on Balearic Shearwater through a trophic cascade. Biol. Lett. 7, 702–705 (2011).

  64. 64.

    Unimodal Models to Relate Species to Environment (DLO-Agricultural Mathematics Group, 1996).

  65. 65.

    , , , & Beyond predictions: Biodiversity conservation in a changing climate. Science 332, 53–58 (2011).

  66. 66.

    , , , & Towards an integrated framework for assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change. PLoS Biol. 6, 2621–2626 (2008).

  67. 67.

    & North Atlantic climate variability: The role of the North Atlantic Oscillation. J. Mar. Syst. 78, 28–41 (2009).

  68. 68.

    , & The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and its relationship to rainfall and river flows in the continental U.S. Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 2077–2080 (2001).

  69. 69.

    & Spatial dependence of pelagic diversity in the North Atlantic Ocean. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 232, 197–211 (2002).

  70. 70.

    , & Species richness and evolutionary niche dynamics: A spatial pattern-oriented simulation experiment. Am. Nat. 170, 602–616 (2007).

  71. 71.

    , & Macrophysiology of Calanus finmarchicus in the North Atlantic Ocean. Prog. Oceanogr. 91, 217–228 (2011).

  72. 72.

    , , , & Plankton effect on cod recruitment in the North Sea. Nature 426, 661–664 (2003).

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was part of the regional project BIODIMAR and was also supported by the ‘Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’ (CNRS) and the Research Programme CPER CLIMIBIO (Nord-Pas de Calais). We thank past and present SAHFOS workers and the international funding consortium supporting the CPR survey. Their dedication has made this unique time series possible. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output. We also thank D. Tittensor (Dalhousie University) and I. Rombouts (Lille University) for providing data sets on some marine taxonomic groups.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences UMR LOG CNRS 8187, Université des Sciences et Technologies Lille 1 – BP 80, 62930 Wimereux, France

    • Grégory Beaugrand
    •  & Eric Goberville
  2. Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK

    • Grégory Beaugrand
    • , Martin Edwards
    •  & Eric Goberville
  3. Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK

    • Martin Edwards
    •  & Richard R. Kirby
  4. Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Marine Department, 8 Quai Antoine Ier, MC-98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco

    • Virginie Raybaud
  5. CNRS UMS 829, Sorbonne Universités (UPMC Univ. Paris 6), Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

    • Virginie Raybaud
  6. Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK

    • Richard R. Kirby

Authors

  1. Search for Grégory Beaugrand in:

  2. Search for Martin Edwards in:

  3. Search for Virginie Raybaud in:

  4. Search for Eric Goberville in:

  5. Search for Richard R. Kirby in:

Contributions

G.B. conceived the study; G.B., V.R. and E.G. compiled the data; G.B. analysed the data. G.B., R.R.K., E.G., M.E. and V.R. discussed the results and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Grégory Beaugrand or Richard R. Kirby.

Supplementary information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2650

Further reading