Differential vulnerability to climate change yields novel deep-reef communities

Type Article
Date 2018-10
Language English
Author(s) Marzloff MartinORCID1, 2, Oliver Eric C. J.1, 3, Barrett Neville S.1, Holbrook Neil J.1, 4, James Lainey1, Wotherspoon Simon J.1, 5, Johnson Craig1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Tasmania, Inst Marine & Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Tas, Australia.
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Bretagne, DYNECO Res Unit, Benth & Coastal Ecol Lab LEBCO, Plouzane, France.
3 : Dalhousie Univ, Dept Oceanog, Halifax, NS, Canada.
4 : Univ Tasmania, Australian Res Council Ctr Excellence Climate Ext, Hobart, Tas, Australia.
5 : Australian Antarctic Div, Kingston, Tas, Australia.
Source Nature Climate Change (1758-678X) (Nature Publishing Group), 2018-10 , Vol. 8 , N. 10 , P. 873 (8p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41558-018-0278-7
WOS© Times Cited 8

The effects of climate-driven ocean change on reef habitat-forming species are diverse(1,2) and can be deleterious to the structure and functioning of seafloor communities(3-5). Although responses of shallow coral- or seaweed-based reef communities to environmental changes are a focus of ecological research in the coastal zone(1,4-6), the ecology of habitat-forming organisms on deeper mesophotic reefs remains poorly known. These reefs are typically highly biodiverses(7,8) and productive as a result of massive nutrient recycling(9). Based on seafloor imagery obtained from an autonomous underwater vehicle(8), we related change in community composition on deep reefs (30-90 m) across a latitudinal gradient (25-45 degrees S) in southeastern Australia to high-resolution environmental and oceanographic data, and predicted future changes using downscaled climate change projections for the 2060s(10-12). This region is recognized as a global hotspot for ocean warming(13). The models show an overall tropicalization trend in these deep temperate reef communities, but different functional groups associate differentially to environmental drivers and display a diversity of responses to projected ocean change. We predict the emergence of novel deep-reef assemblages by the 2060s that have no counterpart on reefs today, which is likely to underpin shifts in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
8 1 MB Access on demand
38 50 MB Access on demand
30 KB Access on demand
Author's final draft 32 19 MB Open access
Top of the page