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Climate change threatens the world’s marine protected areas

Climate change threatens the world’s marine protected areas
Climate change threatens the world’s marine protected areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a primary management tool for mitigating threats to marine biodiversity1,2. MPAs and the species they protect, however, are increasingly being impacted by climate change. Here we show that, despite local protections, the warming associated with continued business-as-usual emissions (RCP8.5)3 will likely result in further habitat and species losses throughout low-latitude and tropical MPAs4,5. With continued business-as-usual emissions, mean sea-surface temperatures within MPAs are projected to increase 0.035 °C per year and warm an additional 2.8 °C by 2100. Under these conditions, the time of emergence (the year when sea-surface temperature and oxygen concentration exceed natural variability) is mid-century in 42% of 309 no-take marine reserves. Moreover, projected warming rates and the existing ‘community thermal safety margin’ (the inherent buffer against warming based on the thermal sensitivity of constituent species) both vary among ecoregions and with latitude. The community thermal safety margin will be exceeded by 2050 in the tropics and by 2150 for many higher latitude MPAs. Importantly, the spatial distribution of emergence is stressor-specific. Hence, rearranging MPAs to minimize exposure to one stressor could well increase exposure to another. Continued business-as-usual emissions will likely disrupt many marine ecosystems, reducing the benefits of MPAs.

1758-678X
499-503
Bruno, John F.
f6cbaf13-b965-406a-acdd-e2876a7d8141
Bates, Amanda E.
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34
Cacciapaglia, Chris
9a1510da-7428-482e-a6a2-7ce339f0e65a
Pike, Elizabeth P.
292572e9-4dda-4155-baf1-32cee4e20b27
Amstrup, Steven C.
9d9d9419-5be3-4f27-b314-87d02a159052
van Hooidonk, Ruben
f3d6f254-242c-4ff7-98c9-ecf2c756a9f9
Henson, Stephanie A.
d6532e17-a65b-4d7b-9ee3-755ecb565c19
Aronson, Richard B.
6a8f363e-1e57-4145-868f-aa5ef46e32fc
Bruno, John F.
f6cbaf13-b965-406a-acdd-e2876a7d8141
Bates, Amanda E.
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34
Cacciapaglia, Chris
9a1510da-7428-482e-a6a2-7ce339f0e65a
Pike, Elizabeth P.
292572e9-4dda-4155-baf1-32cee4e20b27
Amstrup, Steven C.
9d9d9419-5be3-4f27-b314-87d02a159052
van Hooidonk, Ruben
f3d6f254-242c-4ff7-98c9-ecf2c756a9f9
Henson, Stephanie A.
d6532e17-a65b-4d7b-9ee3-755ecb565c19
Aronson, Richard B.
6a8f363e-1e57-4145-868f-aa5ef46e32fc

Bruno, John F., Bates, Amanda E., Cacciapaglia, Chris, Pike, Elizabeth P., Amstrup, Steven C., van Hooidonk, Ruben, Henson, Stephanie A. and Aronson, Richard B. (2018) Climate change threatens the world’s marine protected areas. Nature Climate Change, 8, 499-503. (doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0149-2).

Record type: Letter

Abstract

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a primary management tool for mitigating threats to marine biodiversity1,2. MPAs and the species they protect, however, are increasingly being impacted by climate change. Here we show that, despite local protections, the warming associated with continued business-as-usual emissions (RCP8.5)3 will likely result in further habitat and species losses throughout low-latitude and tropical MPAs4,5. With continued business-as-usual emissions, mean sea-surface temperatures within MPAs are projected to increase 0.035 °C per year and warm an additional 2.8 °C by 2100. Under these conditions, the time of emergence (the year when sea-surface temperature and oxygen concentration exceed natural variability) is mid-century in 42% of 309 no-take marine reserves. Moreover, projected warming rates and the existing ‘community thermal safety margin’ (the inherent buffer against warming based on the thermal sensitivity of constituent species) both vary among ecoregions and with latitude. The community thermal safety margin will be exceeded by 2050 in the tropics and by 2150 for many higher latitude MPAs. Importantly, the spatial distribution of emergence is stressor-specific. Hence, rearranging MPAs to minimize exposure to one stressor could well increase exposure to another. Continued business-as-usual emissions will likely disrupt many marine ecosystems, reducing the benefits of MPAs.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 29 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 May 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 424878
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/424878
ISSN: 1758-678X
PURE UUID: 5c261c8d-22de-4c88-8985-54d58358877c

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2018 11:52
Last modified: 05 Oct 2018 11:52

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Contributors

Author: John F. Bruno
Author: Amanda E. Bates
Author: Chris Cacciapaglia
Author: Elizabeth P. Pike
Author: Steven C. Amstrup
Author: Ruben van Hooidonk
Author: Richard B. Aronson

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