Are fish outside their usual ranges early indicators of climate-driven range shifts?

Fogarty, Hannah E. , Burrows, Michael T. , Pecl, Gretta T. , Robinson, Lucy M. and Poloczanska, Elvira S. (2017) Are fish outside their usual ranges early indicators of climate-driven range shifts?. Global Change Biology, 23 5: 2047-2057. doi:10.1111/gcb.13635


Author Fogarty, Hannah E.
Burrows, Michael T.
Pecl, Gretta T.
Robinson, Lucy M.
Poloczanska, Elvira S.
Title Are fish outside their usual ranges early indicators of climate-driven range shifts?
Journal name Global Change Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2486
1354-1013
Publication date 2017-02-23
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/gcb.13635
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 23
Issue 5
Start page 2047
End page 2057
Total pages 11
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 2306 Global and Planetary Change
2304 Environmental Chemistry
2303 Ecology
2300 Environmental Science
Abstract Shifts in species ranges are a global phenomenon, well known to occur in response to a changing climate. New species arriving in an area may become pest species, modify ecosystem structure, or represent challenges or opportunities for fisheries and recreation. Early detection of range shifts and prompt implementation of any appropriate management strategies is therefore crucial. This study investigates whether 'first sightings' of marine species outside their normal ranges could provide an early warning of impending climate-driven range shifts. We examine the relationships between first sightings and marine regions defined by patterns of local climate velocities (calculated on a 50-year timescale), while also considering the distribution of observational effort (i.e. number of sampling days recorded with biological observations in global databases). The marine trajectory regions include climate 'source' regions (areas lacking connections to warmer areas), 'corridor' regions (areas where moving isotherms converge), and 'sink' regions (areas where isotherms locally disappear). Additionally, we investigate the latitudinal band in which first sightings were recorded, and species' thermal affiliations. We found that first sightings are more likely to occur in climate sink and 'divergent' regions (areas where many rapid and diverging climate trajectories pass through) indicating a role of temperature in driving changes in marine species distributions. The majority of our fish first sightings appear to be tropical and subtropical species moving towards high latitudes, as would be expected in climate warming. Our results indicate that first sightings are likely related to longer-term climatic processes, and therefore have potential use to indicate likely climate-driven range shifts. The development of an approach to detect impending range shifts at an early stage will allow resource managers and researchers to better manage opportunities resulting from range-shifting species before they potentially colonize.
Keyword Climate change
Climate velocity
Detection and attribution
Range shift
Range-edge
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
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