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Differential vulnerability to climate change yields novel deep-reef communities


Marzloff, MP and Oliver, ECJ and Barrett, NS and Holbrook, NJ and James, L and Wotherspoon, SJ and Johnson, CR, Differential vulnerability to climate change yields novel deep-reef communities, Nature Climate Change, 8, (10) pp. 873-878. ISSN 1758-678X (2018) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2018 Springer Nature Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0278-7


The effects of climate-driven ocean change on reef habitat-forming species are diverse and can be deleterious to the structure and functioning of seafloor communities. Although responses of shallow coral- or seaweed-based reef communities to environmental changes are a focus of ecological research in the coastal zone, the ecology of habitat-forming organisms on deeper mesophotic reefs remains poorly known. These reefs are typically highly biodiverse and productive as a result of massive nutrient recycling. Based on seafloor imagery obtained from an autonomous underwater vehicle, we related change in community composition on deep reefs (3090 m) across a latitudinal gradient (2545 S) in southeastern Australia to high-resolution environmental and oceanographic data, and predicted future changes using downscaled climate change projections for the 2060s. This region is recognized as a global hotspot for ocean warming. 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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, deep-reef communities, environmental changes
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Marzloff, MP (Dr Martin Marzloff)
UTAS Author:Oliver, ECJ (Dr Eric Oliver)
UTAS Author:Barrett, NS (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
UTAS Author:Holbrook, NJ (Professor Neil Holbrook)
UTAS Author:James, L (Ms Lainey James)
UTAS Author:Wotherspoon, SJ (Dr Simon Wotherspoon)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
ID Code:128521
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:159
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2018-09-27
Last Modified:2018-11-27

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