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Pushing boundaries of range and resilience: a review of range-extension by a barrens-forming sea urchin


Ling, SD, Pushing boundaries of range and resilience: a review of range-extension by a barrens-forming sea urchin, Workshop: Responses of key sea urchin populations to climate change processes: From Larvae to Ecosystems, 14-18 November 2012, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, pp. 10. (2012) [Plenary Presentation]


Pushing boundaries of range and resilience: a review of range-≠‐extension by a barrens-≠‐forming sea urchin Scott D. Ling, Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart. Tas. 7001, Australia; email: The barrens-≠‐forming sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii (Diadematidae) has undergone recent poleward range-≠‐extension to the Tasmanian coastline (SE Australia). By compiling field observations (including SST spanning >60yrs), broad-≠‐scale surveys and manipulative experiments conducted during the past decade, this review details knowledge on the response of this key sea urchin species to climate change and dually explores multiple processes influencing the ultimate ecological consequence of catastrophic-≠‐shift from productive kelp beds to urchin barrens, as now observed within the range-≠‐extension region. As a result of changing regional climate, eastern Tasmania has become increasingly suitable for Centrostephanus larval development with the timing of the sea urchinsí arrival, age-≠‐structure and spatial distribution across the extension-≠‐region consistent with patterns in warming sea temperatures and current-≠‐driven dispersal potential. Furthermore, consistency in temperature dependency of larval development plus lack of genetic differentiation of the species across its entire range, confirm the critical role of changing climate in driving the range-≠‐extension. Continued warming predicted for this region will favour increased larval survival, promoting ongoing population expansion and ultimately increased likelihood of populations reaching sufficient density to affect widespread overgrazing. As such, knowledge of patterns and mechanisms promoting overgrazing are also reviewed for the purpose of identifying kelp beds at greatest risk given climate trends, reef substratum types and predator abundance (chiefly spiny lobsters) as influenced by intense fishing pressure. Finally, this review shows how management of non-≠‐climatic local scale stressors can be used to increase resilience of kelp beds against overgrazing given large-≠‐scale climate-≠‐driven increases in key sea urchin populations.

Item Details

Item Type:Plenary Presentation
Keywords:Responses of key sea urchin populations to climate chnage processes: from larvae to ecosystems
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)
ID Code:80090
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2012-10-22
Last Modified:2013-03-08

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