Hidden impacts of climate change on biological responses of marine life

Conflicting results remain on how climate change affects the biological performance of different marine taxa, hindering our capacity to predict the future state of marine ecosystems. Using a novel meta-analytical approach, we tested for directional changes and deviations across biological responses of fish and invertebrates from exposure to warming (OW), acidification (OA), and their combination. In addition to the established effects of climate change on calcification, survival and metabolism, we found deviations in the physiology, reproduction, behavior, and development of fish and invertebrates, resulting in a doubling of responses significantly affected when compared to directional changes. Widespread deviations of responses were detected even under moderate (IPCC RCP6-level) OW and OA for 2100, while directional changes were mostly limited to more severe (RCP 8.5) exposures. Because such deviations may result in ecological shifts impacting ecosystem structure and processes, our results suggest that OW and OA will likely have stronger impacts than those previously predicted based on directional changes alone.

Alter K., Jacquemont J., Claudet J., Lattuca M. E., Barrantes M. E., Marras S., Manríquez P., González C. P., Fernández D. A., Peck M. A., Cattano C., Milazzo M., Mark F. & Domenici P., 2023. Hidden impacts of climate change on biological responses of marine life. Research Square. Article.

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