MEPS 396:245-259 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08378

Consequences of climate-driven biodiversity changes for ecosystem functioning of North European rocky shores

S. J. Hawkins1,2,*, H. E. Sugden1, N. Mieszkowska2, P. J. Moore2,3, E. Poloczanska4, R. Leaper5, R. J. H. Herbert6,7, M. J. Genner2,8, P. S. Moschella2,9, R. C. Thompson10, S. R. Jenkins1,2, A. J. Southward2,†, M. T. Burrows11

1School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, Anglesey LL59 5AB, UK
2Marine Biological Association of the UK, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
3School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia 6027, Australia
4Climate Adaptation Flagship, CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, PO Box 120, Cleveland, Queensland 4163, Australia
5Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program Marine Biodiversity Hub: Prediction Program, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Locked Bag 49, Hobart 7001, Australia
6Medina Valley Field Centre, Dodnor Lane, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5TE, UK
7School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Christchurch House, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
8School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
9CIESM – The Mediterranean Science Committee, 16 bd de Suisse, MC 98000, Monaco
10Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
11Scottish Association for Marine Sciences, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK
*Email: Deceased

ABSTRACT: We review how intertidal biodiversity is responding to globally driven climate change, focusing on long-term data from rocky shores in the British Isles. Physical evidence of warming around the British Isles is presented and, whilst there has been considerable fluctuation, sea surface temperatures are at the highest levels recorded, surpassing previous warm periods (i.e. late 1950s). Examples are given of species that have been advancing or retreating polewards over the last 50 to 100 yr. On rocky shores, the extent of poleward movement is idiosyncratic and dependent upon life history characteristics, dispersal capabilities and habitat requirements. More southern, warm water species have been recorded advancing than northern, cold water species retreating. Models have been developed to predict likely assemblage composition based on future environmental scenarios. We present qualitative and quantitative forecasts to explore the functional consequences of changes in the identity, abundance and species richness of gastropod grazers and foundation species such as barnacles and canopy-forming algae. We forecast that the balance of primary producers and secondary consumers is likely to change along wave exposure gradients matching changes occurring with latitude, thereby shifting the balance between export and import of primary production. Increases in grazer and sessile invertebrate diversity are likely to be accompanied by decreasing primary production by large canopy-forming fucoids. The reasons for such changes are discussed in the context of emerging theory on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Intertidal · Range shifts · Biodiversity · Ecosystem functioning · Northeast Atlantic


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Cite this article as: Hawkins SJ, Sugden HE, Mieszkowska N, Moore PJ and others (2009) Consequences of climate-driven biodiversity changes for ecosystem functioning of North European rocky shores. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 396:245-259. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08378

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