Climate-driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem

Date

2016

Authors

Wernberg, Thomas
Bennett, Scott
Babcock, Russell C.
de Bettignies, Thibaut
Cure, Katherine
Depczynski, Martial
Dufois, Francois
Fromont, Jane
Fulton, Christopher J
Hovey, Renae K.

Journal Title

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Volume Title

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Abstract

Ecosystem reconfigurations arising from climate-driven changes in species distributions are expected to have profound ecological, social, and economic implications. Here we reveal a rapid climate-driven regime shift of Australian temperate reef communities, which lost their defining kelp forests and became dominated by persistent seaweed turfs. After decades of ocean warming, extreme marine heat waves forced a 100-kilometer range contraction of extensive kelp forests and saw temperate species replaced by seaweeds, invertebrates, corals, and fishes characteristic of subtropical and tropical waters. This community-wide tropicalization fundamentally altered key ecological processes, suppressing the recovery of kelp forests.

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Citation

Source

Science

Type

Journal article

Book Title

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Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1126/science.aad8745

Restricted until

2037-12-31