Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Impacts of Climate Change on Marine Organisms and Ecosystems

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Human activities are releasing gigatonnes of carbon to the Earth's atmosphere annually. Direct consequences of cumulative post-industrial emissions include increasing global temperature, perturbed regional weather patterns, rising sea levels, acidifying oceans, changed nutrient loads and altered ocean circulation. These and other physical consequences are affecting marine biological processes from genes to ecosystems, over scales from rock pools to ocean basins, impacting ecosystem services and threatening human food security. The rates of physical change are unprecedented in some cases. Biological change is likely to be commensurately quick, although the resistance and resilience of organisms and ecosystems is highly variable. Biological changes founded in physiological response manifest as species range-changes, invasions and extinctions, and ecosystem regime shifts. Given the essential roles that oceans play in planetary function and provision of human sustenance, the grand challenge is to intervene before more tipping points are passed and marine ecosystems follow less-buffered terrestrial systems further down a spiral of decline. Although ocean bioengineering may alleviate change, this is not without risk. The principal brake to climate change remains reduced CO2 emissions that marine scientists and custodians of the marine environment can lobby for and contribute to. This review describes present-day climate change, setting it in context with historical change, considers consequences of climate change for marine biological processes now and in to the future, and discusses contributions that marine systems could play in mitigating the impacts of global climate change.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-614
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume19
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Jul 2009

    Research areas

  • SEA-ICE EXTENT, OCEAN IRON FERTILIZATION, GREAT-BARRIER-REEF, LONG-TERM TRENDS, NORTH-ATLANTIC, CARBON-DIOXIDE, SOUTHERN-OCEAN, REGIME SHIFTS, CORAL-REEFS, LEVEL RISE

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Spatial variability in total and organic mercury levels in Antarctic krill Euphausia superba across the Scotia Sea

    Seco, J., Xavier, J. C., Coelho, J. P., Pereira, B., Tarling, G., Pardal, M. A., Bustamante, P., Stowasser, G., Brierley, A. S. & Pereira, M. E. 14 Jan 2019 In : Environmental Pollution. 247, p. 332-339 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Internal lee waves and baroclinic bores over a tropical seamount shark ‘hot-spot’

    Hosegood, P. J., Nimmo-Smith, W. A. M., Proud, R., Adams, K. & Brierley, A. S. 25 Jan 2019 In : Progress in Oceanography. 172, p. 34-50 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. From siphonophores to deep scattering layers: uncertainty ranges for the estimation of global mesopelagic fish biomass

    Proud, R., Handegard, N. O., Kloser, R., Cox, M. & Brierley, A. S. 19 Apr 2018 In : ICES Journal of Marine Science. Advance Article

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Current Biology (Journal)

    Arnold, K. (Reviewer)
    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Current Biology (Journal)

    Byrne, R. W. (Member of editorial board)
    20052014

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Bonobos prefer individuals that hinder others over those that help

    Krupenye, C. & Hare, B. 22 Jan 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 2, p. 280-286 e5

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Chimpanzees consider humans' psychological states when drawing statistical inferences

    Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H., Call, J., Herrmann, E. & Hanus, D. 18 Jun 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Control of Xenopus tadpole locomotion via selective expression of Ih in excitatory interneurons

    Picton, L. D., Sillar, K. T. & Zhang, H-Y. 17 Dec 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 24, p. 3911-3923 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Corvid technologies: how do New Caledonian crows get their tool designs?

    Rutz, C., Hunt, G. & St Clair, J. 24 Sep 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 8, p. R1109-R1111 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  5. Genome biology: unconventional DNA repair in an extreme genome

    Ferrier, D. E. K. & Sogabe, S. 22 Oct 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 20, p. R1208-R1210

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

ID: 3426185