Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services

  title={Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services},
  author={Dan A. Smale and Thomas Wernberg and Eric C. J. Oliver and Mads Solgaard Thomsen and Ben P. Harvey and Sandra C. Straub and Michael T. Burrows and Lisa V. Alexander and Jessica A. Benthuysen and Markus G. Donat and Ming Feng and Alistair J. Hobday and Neil J. Holbrook and Sarah E. Perkins‐Kirkpatrick and Hillary A. Scannell and Alex Sen Gupta and Benjamin L. Payne and Pippa J. Moore},
  journal={Nature Climate Change},
The global ocean has warmed substantially over the past century, with far-reaching implications for marine ecosystems1. Concurrent with long-term persistent warming, discrete periods of extreme regional ocean warming (marine heatwaves, MHWs) have increased in frequency2. Here we quantify trends and attributes of MHWs across all ocean basins and examine their biological impacts from species to ecosystems. Multiple regions in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans are particularly vulnerable to… 
Threat by marine heatwaves to adaptive large marine ecosystems in an eddy-resolving model
Marine heatwaves (MHWs), episodic periods of abnormally high sea surface temperature, severely affect marine ecosystems. Large marine ecosystems (LMEs) cover ~22% of the global ocean but account for
Marine Heatwave Drives Collapse of Kelp Forests in Western Australia
  • T. Wernberg
  • Environmental Science
    Ecosystem Collapse and Climate Change
  • 2021
Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are discrete, unusually warm-water events which can have devastating ecological impacts. In 2011, Western Australia experienced an extreme MHW, affecting >2000 km of coastline
Thermal displacement by marine heatwaves
It is shown that thermal displacements during MHWs vary from tens to thousands of kilometres across the world’s oceans and do not correlate spatially with MHW intensity, and the need for marine resource management to account for MHW-driven spatial shifts is highlighted.
Keeping pace with marine heatwaves
Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are prolonged extreme oceanic warm water events. They can have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems — for example, causing mass coral bleaching and substantial declines in
Too hot to handle: Unprecedented seagrass death driven by marine heatwave in a World Heritage Area
Detailed maps of seagrass coverage across the entire Shark Bay World Heritage Area before and after an extreme MHW are provided to provide a basis for identifying areas of meadow degradation, or stability and recovery; and potential areas of resilience.
Background nutrient concentration determines phytoplankton bloom response to marine heatwaves
Analysis of the daily output of a near-global ocean physical-biogeochemical model simulation suggests increased occurrence of weaker blooms during marine heatwaves in coming decades, with implications for higher trophic levels and biogeochemical cycling of key elements.
Marine heatwaves and the collapse of marginal North Atlantic kelp forests
Extreme climatic events including marine heatwaves (MHWs) are becoming more frequent and severe in the Anthropocene. However, our understanding of how these events affect population dynamics of
Persistence of seaweed forests in the anthropocene will depend on warming and marine heatwave profiles
The varying responses of these three co-occurring forest-forming seaweeds under different temperature scenarios suggests that the impact of ocean warming on near shore ecosystems may be complex and will depend on the specific thermal profile of rising water temperatures relative to the vulnerability of different species.
Unravelling seasonal trends in coastal marine heatwave metrics across global biogeographical realms
Marine heatwaves (MHWs) can cause dramatic changes to ecologically, culturally, and economically important coastal ecosystems. To date, MHW studies have focused on geographically isolated regions or
Genetic tropicalisation following a marine heatwave
Using very rare “before” data, it is empirically demonstrated that an extreme marine heatwave caused a significant poleward shift in genetic clusters of kelp forests whereby alleles characteristic of cool water were replaced by those that predominated in warm water across 200 km of coastline.


Longer and more frequent marine heatwaves over the past century
Using a range of ocean temperature data including global records of daily satellite observations, daily in situ measurements and gridded monthly in situ-based data sets, this work identifies significant increases in marine heatwaves over the past century.
The unprecedented 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave
The Tasman Sea off southeast Australia exhibited its longest and most intense marine heatwave ever recorded in 2015/16, with observed characteristics, physical drivers, ecological impacts and the role of climate change reported.
Marine heatwaves under global warming
Satellite observations and Earth system model simulations reveal that marine heatwaves have increased in recent decades and will increase further in terms of frequency, intensity, duration and spatial extent, suggesting that MHWs will become very frequent and extreme under global warming.
Marine heatwave causes unprecedented regional mass bleaching of thermally resistant corals in northwestern Australia
The first El Niño-related regional-scale mass bleaching event in Western Australia occurs during the austral summer of 2016, suggesting that WA reefs are now at risk of severe bleaching during both El Niño and La Niña years.
Climate-driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem
It is shown that extreme warming of a temperate kelp forest off Australia resulted not only in its collapse, but also in a shift in community composition that brought about an increase in herbivorous tropical fishes that prevent the reestablishment of kelp.
Multi-model ensemble projections of climate change effects on global marine biodiversity
Species distribution models (SDMs) are important tools to explore the effects of future global changes in biodiversity. Previous studies show that variability is introduced into projected
Global imprint of climate change on marine life
Research that combines all available studies of biological responses to regional and global climate change shows that 81–83% of all observations were consistent with the expected impacts of climate
Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being
The negative effects of climate change cannot be adequately anticipated or prepared for unless species responses are explicitly included in decision-making and global strategic frameworks, and feedbacks on climate itself are documented.
Meta-analysis reveals complex marine biological responses to the interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming
The observed synergisms between interacting stressors suggest that care must be made in making inferences from single-stressor studies, and there is now an urgent need to move toward more robust, holistic, and ecologically realistic climate change experiments that incorporate interactions.