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Assessment of the likely sensitivity to climate change for the key marine species in the southern Benguela system


Ortega-Cisneros, K and Yokwana, S and Sauer, W and Cochrane, K and Cockcroft, A and James, NC and Potts, WM and Singh, L and Smale, M and Wood, A and Pecl, G, Assessment of the likely sensitivity to climate change for the key marine species in the southern Benguela system, African Journal of Marine Science, 40, (3) pp. 279-292. ISSN 1814-232X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 NISC (Pty) Ltd

DOI: doi:10.2989/1814232X.2018.1512526


Climate change is altering many environmental parameters of coastal waters and open oceans, leading to substantial present-day and projected changes in the distribution, abundance and phenology of marine species. Attempts to assess how each species might respond to climate change can be data-, resource- and time-intensive. Moreover, in many regions of the world, including South Africa, species may be of vital socioeconomic or ecological importance though critical gaps may exist in our basic biological or ecological knowledge of the species. Here, we adapt and apply a trait-based sensitivity assessment for the key marine species in the southern Benguela system to estimate their potential relative sensitivity to the impacts of climate change. For our analysis, 40 priority species were selected based on their socioeconomic, ecological and/or recreational importance in the system. An extensive literature review and consultation with experts was undertaken concerning each species to gather information on their life history, habitat use and potential stressors. Fourteen attributes were used to estimate the selected speciesí sensitivity and capacity to respond to climate change. A score ranging from low to high sensitivity was given for each attribute, based on the available information. Similarly, a score was assigned to the type and quality of information used to score each particular attribute, allowing an assessment of data-quality inputs for each species. The analysis identified the white steenbras Lithognathus lithognathus, soupfin shark Galeorhinus galeus, St Joseph Callorhinchus capensis and abalone Haliotis midae as potentially the most sensitive species to climate-change impacts in the southern Benguela system. There were data gaps for larval dispersal and settlement and metamorphosis cues for most of the evaluated species. Our results can be used by resource managers to determine the type of monitoring, intervention and planning that may be required to best respond to climate change, given the limited resources and significant knowledge gaps in many cases.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:data-poor assessment, eastern boundary upwelling system, ecological assessment, macroecology, marine fisheries, phenology, species traits, South Africa
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Pecl, G (Professor Gretta Pecl)
ID Code:128588
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2018-10-01
Last Modified:2018-11-28

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