What is the effect of climate change on marine fish biodiversity in an area of low connectivity, the Baltic Sea?
Global Ecol Biogeogr. 2012; 21(6):637-46
This article presents the results of long-term research conducted in the Baltic Sea which examined temporal variation in fish species richness. Although the Baltic Sea is an enclosed basin, not well connected to warmer areas, the authors documented an increase in the overall species richness due to the colonization of species of warm-water affinity across a decadal scale period. The observed temporal variation in fish species richness was accompanied by a parallel increase in sea water temperature and salinity.
One of the most pervasive and intuitive effects of global warming in the marine ecosystem is the distributional shift of warm-water species toward comparatively colder waters. This is particularly evident in areas not showing physical barriers across the latitudinal temperature gradient. However, many areas across the oceans are physically constrained (the poles or, in general, semi-enclosed basins) and long-term research conducted in these areas may provide new insight into the complex effects of global warming.
In this regard, the Baltic Sea is peculiar. It is physically constrained northbound and scarcely connected to warmer waters southbound. For these reasons, it was plausible to hypothesize that the basin was resistant to the distributional shift of species. The authors have shown that this is not true. Such results shows that our understanding of the mechanisms acting on constrained basins is still poor and future projections on the expected effects of climate warming in these areas are likely to be inaccurate. In addition, the configuration of the Baltic Sea is such that cold-water species cannot further migrate northward. Therefore, the next question will be: are they at risk of extinction?
Boero F and Parravicini V: F1000Prime Recommendation of [Hiddink J and Coleby C, Global Ecol Biogeogr 2012, 21(6):637-46]. In F1000Prime, 20 Jun 2012; DOI: 10.3410/f.717147848.792403064. F1000Prime.com/717147848#eval792403064
F1000Prime Recommendations, Dissents and Comments for [Hiddink J and Coleby C, Global Ecol Biogeogr 2012, 21(6):637-46]. In F1000Prime, 07 Dec 2013; F1000Prime.com/717147848
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