Shrinking of fishes exacerbates impacts of global ocean changes on marine ecosystems

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Author(s) Cheung, William W.L., Sarmiento, Jorge L., Dunne, John, Frölicher, Thomas L., Lam, Vicky W.Y., Deng Palomares, M.L., Watson, Reg, Pauly, Daniel
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Shrinking of fishes exacerbates impacts of global ocean changes on marine ecosystems
Author(s) Cheung, William W.L.
Sarmiento, Jorge L.
Dunne, John
Frölicher, Thomas L.
Lam, Vicky W.Y.
Deng Palomares, M.L.
Watson, Reg
Pauly, Daniel
Journal or Series Title Nature climate change
Volume Number 3
Start Page 254
End Page 258
ISSN 1758-678X
Publisher Nature Publ. Group
Publication Place S.l.
Publication Date 2013-03
Keyword(s) Biodiversity and ecosystems
Projection and prediction
Abstract Changes in temperature, oxygen content and other ocean biogeochemical properties directly affect the ecophysiology of marine water-breathing organisms1, 2, 3. Previous studies suggest that the most prominent biological responses are changes in distribution4, 5, 6, phenology7, 8 and productivity9. Both theory and empirical observations also support the hypothesis that warming and reduced oxygen will reduce body size of marine fishes10, 11, 12. However, the extent to which such changes would exacerbate the impacts of climate and ocean changes on global marine ecosystems remains unexplored. Here, we employ a model to examine the integrated biological responses of over 600 species of marine fishes due to changes in distribution, abundance and body size. The model has an explicit representation of ecophysiology, dispersal, distribution, and population dynamics3. We show that assemblage-averaged maximum body weight is expected to shrink by 14–24% globally from 2000 to 2050 under a high-emission scenario. About half of this shrinkage is due to change in distribution and abundance, the remainder to changes in physiology. The tropical and intermediate latitudinal areas will be heavily impacted, with an average reduction of more than 20%. Our results provide a new dimension to understanding the integrated impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.
DOI 10.1038/nclimate1691
Additional Notes Received 30 April 2012, Accepted 22 August 2012, Published online 30 September 2012
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 006397317
Source Database ID FORM-1384957671
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  author = "Cheung, William W.L. and Sarmiento, Jorge L. and Dunne, John and Fr{\"{o}}licher, Thomas L. and Lam, Vicky W.Y. and Deng Palomares, M.L. and Watson, Reg and Pauly, Daniel",
  title = "{S}hrinking of fishes exacerbates impacts of global ocean changes on marine ecosystems",
  journal = "Nature climate change",
  year = 2013,
  volume = "3",
  pages = "254--258",
  month = mar,

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