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Climate change impacts on the distribution of coastal lobsters

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Coastal lobsters support important fisheries all over the world, but there is evidence that climate-induced changes may jeopardize some stocks. Here we present the first global forecasts of changes in coastal lobster species distribution under climate change, using an ensemble of ecological niche models (ENMs). Global changes in richness were projected for 125 coastal lobster species for the end of the century, using a stabilization scenario (4.5 RCP). We compared projected changes in diversity with lobster fisheries data and found that losses in suitable habitat for coastal lobster species were mainly projected in areas with high commercial fishing interest, with species projected to contract their climatic envelope between 40 and 100%. Higher losses of spiny lobsters are projected in the coasts of wider Caribbean/Brazil, eastern Africa and Indo-Pacific region, areas with several directed fisheries and aquacultures, while clawed lobsters are projected to shifts their envelope to northern latitudes likely affecting the North European, North American and Canadian fisheries. Fisheries represent an important resource for local and global economies and understanding how they might be affected by climate change scenarios is paramount when developing specific or regional management strategies.

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The authors would like to thank the IUCN Red List and its partners, namely Prof. Kent Carpenter, Dr. Ben Collen and Dr. Monika Bohm for collecting and sharing the data on lobster’s distribution. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modelling groups (listed in Table S02) and also Dr. Richard Wahle and other anonymous referees for useful comments. The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) supported this study through a PhD grant (SFRH/BD/51514/2011) to JBP and a Senior Research Position (FCT Development Grant 2013) to RR. MBA acknowledges the Integrated Program of IC&DT Call no. 1/SAESCTN/ALENT-07-0224-FEDER-001755 for support of his research.

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Correspondence to Joana Boavida-Portugal.

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Boavida-Portugal, J., Rosa, R., Calado, R. et al. Climate change impacts on the distribution of coastal lobsters. Mar Biol 165, 186 (2018).

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