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      Climate Change Impacts on Marine Ecosystems

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          Abstract

          In marine ecosystems, rising atmospheric CO2 and climate change are associated with concurrent shifts in temperature, circulation, stratification, nutrient input, oxygen content, and ocean acidification, with potentially wide-ranging biological effects. Population-level shifts are occurring because of physiological intolerance to new environments, altered dispersal patterns, and changes in species interactions. Together with local climate-driven invasion and extinction, these processes result in altered community structure and diversity, including possible emergence of novel ecosystems. Impacts are particularly striking for the poles and the tropics, because of the sensitivity of polar ecosystems to sea-ice retreat and poleward species migrations as well as the sensitivity of coral-algal symbiosis to minor increases in temperature. Midlatitude upwelling systems, like the California Current, exhibit strong linkages between climate and species distributions, phenology, and demography. Aggregated effects may modify energy and material flows as well as biogeochemical cycles, eventually impacting the overall ecosystem functioning and services upon which people and societies depend.

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          Most cited references 149

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          Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change

          Ecological changes in the phenology and distribution of plants and animals are occurring in all well-studied marine, freshwater, and terrestrial groups. These observed changes are heavily biased in the directions predicted from global warming and have been linked to local or regional climate change through correlations between climate and biological variation, field and laboratory experiments, and physiological research. Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, show severe range contractions and have been the first groups in which entire species have gone extinct due to recent climate change. Tropical coral reefs and amphibians have been most negatively affected. Predator-prey and plant-insect interactions have been disrupted when interacting species have responded differently to warming. Evolutionary adaptations to warmer conditions have occurred in the interiors of species' ranges, and resource use and dispersal have evolved rapidly at expanding range margins. Observed genetic shifts modulate local effects of climate change, but there is little evidence that they will mitigate negative effects at the species level.
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            Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification.

            Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2 degrees C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse. This review presents future scenarios for coral reefs that predict increasingly serious consequences for reef-associated fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and people. As the International Year of the Reef 2008 begins, scaled-up management intervention and decisive action on global emissions are required if the loss of coral-dominated ecosystems is to be avoided.
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              A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems.

              The management and conservation of the world's oceans require synthesis of spatial data on the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts on marine ecosystems. We developed an ecosystem-specific, multiscale spatial model to synthesize 17 global data sets of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change for 20 marine ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers. However, large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles. The analytical process and resulting maps provide flexible tools for regional and global efforts to allocate conservation resources; to implement ecosystem-based management; and to inform marine spatial planning, education, and basic research.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543; email: *</xref>
                Journal
                Annual Review of Marine Science
                Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci.
                Annual Reviews
                1941-1405
                1941-0611
                January 15 2012
                January 15 2012
                : 4
                : 1
                : 11-37
                10.1146/annurev-marine-041911-111611
                22457967
                © 2012

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