Species’ ranges are shifting globally in response to the warming climate and marine organisms that have large ranges are extending their territories further and faster in response, a new study suggests.
The new research conducted by the University of Southampton and an international team of scientists has shown that, as expected, species that have large latitudinal ranges are able to make their way to cooler waters whereas small-ranging species such as crustaceans and echinoderms are in increased jeopardy as our oceans continue to warm.
“Our findings indicate that animals which already have wide-latitudinal ranges, habitat generalists, and species with high adult mobility displayed the quickest and greatest range shifts,” says University of British Columbia biodiversity researcher Dr Jennifer Sunday, lead author of the study.
The team identiﬁed that omnivores and species with high adult mobility have shown faster range extensions, with omnivorous species thought to exhibit increased range due to higher chances of ﬁnding suitable food resources in new locations. High mobility species including fish and marine mammals that posses the ability to swim are stretching their ranges south faster than benthic organisms such as starfish.
- Jennifer M. Sunday, Gretta T. Pecl, Stewart Frusher, Alistair J. Hobday, Nicole Hill, Neil J. Holbrook, Graham J. Edgar, Rick Stuart-Smith, Neville Barrett, Thomas Wernberg, Reg A. Watson, Dan A. Smale, Elizabeth A. Fulton, Dirk Slawinski, Ming Feng, Ben T. Radford, Peter A. Thompson, Amanda E. Bates. Species traits and climate velocity explain geographic range shifts in an ocean-warming hotspot. Ecology Letters, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12474