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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 685:171-181 (2022)  -  DOI:

Resident lobsters dominate food competition with range-shifting lobsters in an ocean warming hotspot

Samantha Twiname1,*, Quinn P. Fitzgibbon1, Alistair J. Hobday2, Chris G. Carter1, Michael Oellermann1,3, Gretta T. Pecl1

1Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 49, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
2CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
3Technical University of Munich, TUM School of Life Sciences, Aquatic Systems Biology Unit, Weihenstephan 85354, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Species redistributions are one of the most prevalent changes observed in oceans worldwide due to climate change. One of the major challenges is being able to predict temperature-driven changes to species interactions and the outcome of these changes for marine communities due to the complex nature of indirect effects. In the ocean-warming hotspot of south-east Australia, the ranges of many species have shifted poleward. The range of the eastern rock lobster Sagmariasus verreauxi has extended into warming Tasmanian waters inhabited by the resident southern rock lobster Jasus edwardsii, which may lead to increased competitive interactions between the species. Using video monitoring, we investigated how the 2 species compete for food at current (18°C), future (21°C) and future heatwave (24°C) summer temperatures. Behavioural competition occurred in 80% of experiments, during which J. edwardsii won 84% of competitive interactions and showed more aggressive behaviour at all temperatures. This indicates that resident J. edwardsii is not only more dominant in direct food competition than the range-shifting S. verreauxi but, surprisingly, also sustains competitive dominance beyond its physiological thermal optimum under predicted future ocean warming and heatwave scenarios.

KEY WORDS: Climate change ecology · Interspecific competition · Novel species interactions · Range shifts · Spiny lobsters · Thermal performance

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Cite this article as: Twiname S, Fitzgibbon QP, Hobday AJ, Carter CG, Oellermann M, Pecl GT (2022) Resident lobsters dominate food competition with range-shifting lobsters in an ocean warming hotspot. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 685:171-181.

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