"The effects of climate change on marine species have not been a major focus of past IPCC reports because no one had done the work to pull together all the disparate observations from around the world," said Kappel. "This study provides a solid basis for including marine impacts in the latest global accounting of how climate change is affecting our world."
Unlike previous climate change assessments, which relied heavily on terrestrial data to estimate marine impacts, the NCEAS working group scientists gathered from seven countries to assemble a large marine-only database of 1,735 changes in marine life from the global peer-reviewed literature. The biological changes were documented from time series, with an average length of 40 years of observation.
"Here's a totally different system with its own unique set of complexities and subtleties," said Camille Parmesan, professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at University of Texas at Austin. "Yet the overall impacts of recent climate change remain the same: an overwhelming response of species shifting where and when they live in an attempt to track a shifting climate.
"This is the first comprehensive documentation of what is happening in our marine systems in relation to climate change," added Parmesan. "What it reveals is that the changes occurring on land are being matched by the oceans. And far from being a buffer and displaying more minor changes, what we're seeing is a far stronger response from the oceans." Parmesan has been active in IPCC since 1997, and in her capacity as a lead author, she shared in the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to IPCC.
The research revealed telltale traces that collectively
|Contact: Julie Cohen|
University of California - Santa Barbara