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Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas


Rutterford, LA and Simpson, SD and Jennings, S and Johnson, MP and Blanchard, JL and Schon, P-J and Sims, DW and Tinker, J and Genner, MJ, Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas, Nature Climate Change, 5, (6) pp. 569-573. ISSN 1758-678X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Macmillan

DOI: doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2607


European continental shelf seas have experienced intense warming over the past 30 years. In the North Sea, fish have been comprehensively monitored throughout this period and resulting data provide a unique record of changes in distribution and abundance in response to climate change. We use these data to demonstrate the remarkable power of generalized additive models (GAMs), trained on data earlier in the time series, to reliably predict trends in distribution and abundance in later years. Then, challenging process-based models that predict substantial and ongoing poleward shifts of cold-water species, we find that GAMs coupled with climate projections predict future distributions of demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish species over the next 50 years will be strongly constrained by availability of habitat of suitable depth. This will lead to pronounced changes in community structure, species interactions and commercial fisheries, unless individual acclimation or population-level evolutionary adaptations enable fish to tolerate warmer conditions or move to previously uninhabitable locations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, fish distributions, ecological modelling
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:Blanchard, JL (Professor Julia Blanchard)
ID Code:100463
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:65
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2015-05-18
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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