Intra‐Annual Variability in Responses of a Canopy Forming Kelp to Cumulative Low Tide Heat Stress: Implications for Populations at the Trailing Range Edge

Hereward, HFR; King, NG; Smale, DA. 2019 Intra‐Annual Variability in Responses of a Canopy Forming Kelp to Cumulative Low Tide Heat Stress: Implications for Populations at the Trailing Range Edge. Journal of Phycology, 56 (1). 146-158. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpy.12927

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Abstract/Summary

Anthropogenic climate change is driving the redistribution of species at a global scale. For marine species, populations at trailing edges often live very close to their upper thermal limits and, as such, poleward range contractions are one of the most pervasive effects of ongoing and predicted warming. However, the mechanics of processes driving such contractions are poorly understood. Here, we examined the response of the habitat forming kelp, Laminaria digitata, to realistic terrestrial heatwave simulations akin to those experienced by intertidal populations persisting at the trailing range edge in the northeast Atlantic (SW England). We conducted experiments in both spring and autumn to determine temporal variability in the effects of heatwaves. In spring, heatwave scenarios caused minimal stress to L. digitata but in autumn all scenarios tested resulted in tissue being nonviable by the end of each assay. The effects of heatwave scenarios were only apparent after consecutive exposures, indicating erosion of resilience over time. Monthly field surveys corroborated experimental evidence as the prevalence of bleaching (an indication of physio logical stress and tissue damage) in natural populations was greatest in autumn and early winter. Overall, our data showed that L. digitata populations in SW England persist close to their upper physiological limits for emersion stress in autumn. As the intensity of extreme warming events is likely to increase with anthropogenic climate change, thermal conditions experienced during periods of emersion will soon exceed physiological thresholds and will likely induce widespread mortality and consequent changes at the population level.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: climate change; Kelp forests; Ocean warming; Species range shifts; Temperate reef communities; Thermal stress
Subjects: Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Ecosystems and Environmental Change > Global environmental change and marine ecosystems
Depositing User: Emily Smart
Date made live: 23 Jul 2021 11:03
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2021 11:03
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9268

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