Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD and its colleagues have found that the effects of climate change are being felt across a wide ensemble of sea life.
Their report, published in the journal Global Change Biology, describes climate-induced changes ranging from migration pattern alterations to key population shifts.
"This is the first evidence in the ocean that climate change can have dramatic effects on large-scale fisheries' ecosystems," Scripps professor George Sugihara said. "These are some very interesting consequences that people haven't really thought about. These warming events could actually cause a constellation of species that normally don't interact to begin to interact and that could have potentially large effects on what we think ought to be the natural ecosystem."
The study, led by Chih-Hao Hsieh while he was a student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and who is now at National Taiwan University, is based on data from the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), a program based at Scripps that has monitored the marine environment of the California Current for nearly 60 years. Hsieh, Sugihara and their co-authors used the CalCOFI database to decipher the sensitivity of fish habitats in response to climate-driven ocean warming.