"The predictions of higher average temperatures and milder winters in the North Sea make it likely that these species will increase further in abundance and move northward," say NIOO scientists. This "will affect the North Sea food web and therefore commercial species by predation on juveniles and competition for food resources."
The impacts of some observed changes remain difficult to assess because the web of life in the oceans, and the forces that shape it, are so complex, and so little is known about them. Some impacts will combine to magnify their effects on ocean life; others might neutralize each other.
In the Baltic Sea, for example, warmer temperatures should improve biodiversity. But the sea is also expected to become less salty, which would reduce the number of fish species.
If, as forecast, sea levels rise, newly flooded coastal areas in Europe will provide more fish habitat. On the other hand, studies suggest a combination of rising temperature and decreasing oxygen could degrade the coastal habitats for bottom-living fish species such as cod and flatfish, particularly in areas that already recei
|Contact: Terry Collins|
Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)