Ensemble projections of global ocean animal biomass with climate change

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Heike K LotzeNicola D Walker


Climate change is shifting the abundance and distribution of marine species with consequences for ecosystem functioning, seafood supply, management and conservation. Several approaches for future projection exist but these have never been compared systematically to assess their variability. We conducted standardized ensemble projections including 6 global fisheries and marine ecosystem models, forced with 2 Earth-system models and 4 emission scenarios in a fished and unfished ocean, to derive average trends and associated uncertainties. Without fishing, mean global animal biomass decreased by 5% (standard deviation 4%) under low and 17% (standard deviation 11%) under high emissions by 2100, primarily driven by increasing temperature and decreasing primary production. These climate-change effects were slightly weaker for larger animals and in a fished ocean. Considerable regional variation ranged from strong biomass increases in high latitudes to strong decreases in mid-low latitudes, with good model agreement on the direction of change but variable magnitude. Uncertainties due to differences among ecosystem or Earth-system models were similar, suggesting equal need for model improvement. Our ensemble projections provide the mos...Continue Reading

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