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Macroalgae and temperate rocky reefs


Wernberg, T and Smale, DA and Verges, A and Campbell, AH and Russell, BD and Coleman, MA and Ling, SD and Steinberg, PD and Johnson, CR and Kendrick, GA and Connell, SD, Macroalgae and temperate rocky reefs, Marine Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report Card for Australia 2012, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship 2012, ES Poloczanska, AJ Hobday and AJ Richardson (ed), Hobart, pp. 187-208. ISBN 978-0-643-10928-5 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2012 CSIRO

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A recent analysis of herbarium records back to the 1940s suggests temperate seaweeds on both east and west coasts of Australia have retreated south 10-50 km per decade as waters have warmed. A recent extreme warming event (marine heatwave) in Western Australia caused substantial changes to seaweed habitats, including a reduction in large habitat forming species. In eastern Tasmania, a substantial decline in algal habitat is associated with southward expansion of a grazing sea urchin aided by the strengthening of the East Australian Current and warmer temperatures.

Warming will reduce the resilience of macroalgal habitats to other stressors such as pollution. Temperate species will contract their ranges southwards and tropical species expand their ranges further south. Many temperate species, found only in Australia, are at risk of extinction in the next 50-100 years. Extreme events (storms, heat waves, etc) will increase in frequency and magnitude and drive shifts in species’ distributions and interactions.

IMOS Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Facility will provide long-term monitoring of water properties and temperate reefs at key locations in Qld, NSW, Tas and WA. Several research projects focusing on climate change and temperate macroalgae are under way. These focus both on establishing the range of impacts as well as the mechanistic relationships which drive impacts of climate change.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:climate change, macroalgae, Australia, review
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Ling, SD (Dr Scott Ling)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
ID Code:80072
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2012-10-21
Last Modified:2014-08-11
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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