Hawkins, Stephen J., Southward, Alan J. and Genner, Martin J.
Detection of environmental change in a marine ecosystem—evidence from the western English Channel
Science of Total Environment, 310, (1-3), . (doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00645-9).
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To separate human-induced changes from natural fluctuations in marine life requires long-term research. The western English Channel has been investigated from Plymouth for over 100 years. The abundance of marine life has been recorded and related to physical changes in the environment. By comparing different parts of the ecosystem we can demonstrate historic natural fluctuations, allowing prediction of effects of future global change. From the 1920s to the 1950s there was a period of warming of the sea, with increases in abundance of species of fish, plankton and intertidal organisms that are typically common in warmer waters to the south of Britain. After 1962 the sea cooled down and northern cold-water species became more abundant. Since the 1980s regional sea surface temperature has increased again and warm-water species are once more becoming abundant.
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