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Review of climate change impacts on marine fish and shellfish around the UK and Ireland

Review of climate change impacts on marine fish and shellfish around the UK and Ireland
Review of climate change impacts on marine fish and shellfish around the UK and Ireland
Recent and projected future changes in the temperature and chemistry of marine waters around the UK and Ireland are having, and will in the future have, effects on the phenology, productivity and distribution of marine fish and shellfish. However, the overall consequences are still hard to predict because behaviour, genetic adaptation, habitat dependency and the impacts of fishing on species, result in complex species' responses that may be only partially explained by simple climate envelope predictions.

There is a broad body of evidence that climatic fluctuations are playing an important role in changing fish distributions and abundances, which is discernible against the background of trends in abundance due to fishing. During warm periods, southern species have tended to become more prominent and northern species less abundant. However, the changes in distribution are often more complicated than might be expected from a simple climate envelope approach, partly due to ocean circulation patterns which create invasion routes for southern water species into the North Sea from the south and from the north via the continental shelf west of Britain and Ireland.

The eventual population-scale impacts of ocean acidification on fish and shellfish are currently very difficult to predict. However, the scant evidence suggests that indirect food web effects arising from the enhanced sensitivity of calcifying planktonic organisms may be important, and the direct effect on fish sensory systems leading to subtle influences on behaviour with possible population-level implications are possible.

In British waters, the lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) is identified as being at particular risk from climate change. Owing to its strict association with coarse sandy sediments it is unable to adapt its distribution to compensate for warming sea temperatures. Sandeels are a key link in the food web, linking primary and zooplankton production to top predators
ocean, biogeography, fish, invertebrates, climate change, acidification
1052-7613
337-367
Heath, Michael R.
66d0eed9-fd25-41ff-b111-f2b4857424d7
Neat, Francis C.
80a262c8-1dbc-4f4c-acb8-42e4f85750c7
Pinnegar, John K.
185b6e46-5667-4371-ab54-c54e54839eee
Reid, David G.
0d06f1c4-82d5-4c93-af16-92e236df84e7
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Wright, Peter J.
712f48a3-8f79-4b02-8215-a08957ee7bb8
Heath, Michael R.
66d0eed9-fd25-41ff-b111-f2b4857424d7
Neat, Francis C.
80a262c8-1dbc-4f4c-acb8-42e4f85750c7
Pinnegar, John K.
185b6e46-5667-4371-ab54-c54e54839eee
Reid, David G.
0d06f1c4-82d5-4c93-af16-92e236df84e7
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Wright, Peter J.
712f48a3-8f79-4b02-8215-a08957ee7bb8

Heath, Michael R., Neat, Francis C., Pinnegar, John K., Reid, David G., Sims, David W. and Wright, Peter J. (2012) Review of climate change impacts on marine fish and shellfish around the UK and Ireland. Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22 (3), 337-367. (doi:10.1002/aqc.2244).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Recent and projected future changes in the temperature and chemistry of marine waters around the UK and Ireland are having, and will in the future have, effects on the phenology, productivity and distribution of marine fish and shellfish. However, the overall consequences are still hard to predict because behaviour, genetic adaptation, habitat dependency and the impacts of fishing on species, result in complex species' responses that may be only partially explained by simple climate envelope predictions.

There is a broad body of evidence that climatic fluctuations are playing an important role in changing fish distributions and abundances, which is discernible against the background of trends in abundance due to fishing. During warm periods, southern species have tended to become more prominent and northern species less abundant. However, the changes in distribution are often more complicated than might be expected from a simple climate envelope approach, partly due to ocean circulation patterns which create invasion routes for southern water species into the North Sea from the south and from the north via the continental shelf west of Britain and Ireland.

The eventual population-scale impacts of ocean acidification on fish and shellfish are currently very difficult to predict. However, the scant evidence suggests that indirect food web effects arising from the enhanced sensitivity of calcifying planktonic organisms may be important, and the direct effect on fish sensory systems leading to subtle influences on behaviour with possible population-level implications are possible.

In British waters, the lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) is identified as being at particular risk from climate change. Owing to its strict association with coarse sandy sediments it is unable to adapt its distribution to compensate for warming sea temperatures. Sandeels are a key link in the food web, linking primary and zooplankton production to top predators

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More information

Published date: 2012
Keywords: ocean, biogeography, fish, invertebrates, climate change, acidification
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 340713
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/340713
ISSN: 1052-7613
PURE UUID: aec904fd-e51a-4750-bab7-1b4b3b214eb7

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Date deposited: 29 Jun 2012 14:13
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 07:24

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Contributors

Author: Michael R. Heath
Author: Francis C. Neat
Author: John K. Pinnegar
Author: David G. Reid
Author: David W. Sims
Author: Peter J. Wright

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