, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp 1498–1515 | Cite as

Autonomous adaptation to climate-driven change in marine biodiversity in a global marine hotspot

  • Gretta T. PeclEmail author
  • Emily Ogier
  • Sarah Jennings
  • Ingrid van Putten
  • Christine Crawford
  • Hannah Fogarty
  • Stewart Frusher
  • Alistair J. Hobday
  • John Keane
  • Emma Lee
  • Catriona MacLeod
  • Craig Mundy
  • Jemina Stuart-Smith
  • Sean Tracey
Biodiversity Change and Human Adaptation


While governments and natural resource managers grapple with how to respond to climatic changes, many marine-dependent individuals, organisations and user-groups in fast-changing regions of the world are already adjusting their behaviour to accommodate these. However, we have little information on the nature of these autonomous adaptations that are being initiated by resource user-groups. The east coast of Tasmania, Australia, is one of the world’s fastest warming marine regions with extensive climate-driven changes in biodiversity already observed. We present and compare examples of autonomous adaptations from marine users of the region to provide insights into factors that may have constrained or facilitated the available range of autonomous adaptation options and discuss potential interactions with governmental planned adaptations. We aim to support effective adaptation by identifying the suite of changes that marine users are making largely without government or management intervention, i.e. autonomous adaptations, to better understand these and their potential interactions with formal adaptation strategies.


Autonomous adaptation Climate change Indigenous knowledge Local knowledge Marine biodiversity Species redistribution 



We thank the recreational and commercial fishers, divers, resource managers, tourism operators and seafood processors that shared their knowledge and information regarding their practices. We are particularly grateful to the Tasmanian Indigenous community that generously shared their experiences and perspectives, especially Dr Aunty Patsy Cameron. Citizen science contributors to the Redmap Australia project ( provided the observations and associated images for Table S1. We are grateful to the resource managers, researchers and fishing industry representatives from the project “Preparing fisheries for climate change: identifying adaptation options for four key fisheries in South Eastern Australia”, FRDC Project No 2011/039 that attended the March 2012 workshop and provided the observations in Table S2. GP was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. Animate Your Science produced Fig. 1, under our guidance.

Supplementary material

13280_2019_1186_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (67 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 68 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gretta T. Pecl
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Emily Ogier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah Jennings
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ingrid van Putten
    • 2
    • 4
  • Christine Crawford
    • 1
  • Hannah Fogarty
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stewart Frusher
    • 2
  • Alistair J. Hobday
    • 2
    • 4
  • John Keane
    • 1
  • Emma Lee
    • 2
    • 5
  • Catriona MacLeod
    • 1
    • 2
  • Craig Mundy
    • 1
  • Jemina Stuart-Smith
    • 1
  • Sean Tracey
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Marine and Antarctic StudiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Marine SocioecologyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.Tasmanian School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Oceans and AtmosphereHobartAustralia
  5. 5.Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia

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