Global impacts of marine heatwaves on coastal foundation species

Smith, KE, Aubin, M, Burrows, MT, Filbee-Dexter, K, King, NG, Moore, PJ, Wilson, E. and Smale, DA 2024 Global impacts of marine heatwaves on coastal foundation species. Nature Communications, 15.

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With increasingly intense marine heatwaves affecting nearshore regions, foundation species are coming under increasing stress. To better understand their impacts, we examine responses of critical, habitat-forming foundation species (macroalgae, seagrass, corals) to marine heatwaves in 1322 shallow coastal areas located across 85 marine ecoregions. We find compelling evidence that intense, summer marine heatwaves play a significant role in the decline of foundation species globally. Critically, detrimental effects increase towards species warm-range edges and over time. We also identify several ecoregions where foundation species don’t respond to marine heatwaves, suggestive of some resilience to warming events. Cumulative marine heatwave intensity, absolute temperature, and location within a species’ range are key factors mediating impacts. Our results suggest many coastal ecosystems are losing foundation species, potentially impacting associated biodiversity, ecological function, and ecosystem services provision. Understanding relationships between marine heatwaves and foundation species offers the potential to predict impacts that are critical for developing management and adaptation approaches

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: climate-change ecology, ecosystem ecology, macroecology
Subjects: Biology
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Coastal Ecology
Depositing User: Ms Kristina Hixon
Date made live: 05 Jul 2024 07:50
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2024 07:50

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