Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change

  • Thomas WernbergEmail author
  • Bayden D. Russell
  • Mads S. Thomsen
  • Sean D. Connell
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Global Environmental Pollution book series (EGEP, volume 1)


Climate change involves shifts in environmental conditions which will affect the distribution and biological performance of species. Global patterns of marine biodiversity are strongly driven by ocean temperature. Rising ocean temperatures, in combination with other climate changes and human pressures, will have both direct and indirect effects on marine species, and there will be both “winners” and “losers.” On a global scale, biological communities and interactions within them will change as physiological demands increase and some species replace others. On a local scale, impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity will be greatest when foundation species are affected because the effects will cascade through associated communities within and between trophic levels. In many cases, climate change will reduce the resilience of marine communities to other human pressures. It is therefore important that effects of climate change on marine biodiversity are understood in combination with multiple stressors.


Global warming Human impacts Ocean acidification Multiple stressors Habitat-forming species Ecosystem engineers Range-shifts Direct and indirect effects Interactions 



TW and SDC were supported by Fellowships from the Australian Research Council.


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Additional Recommended Reading

  1. Doney SC, Ruckelshaus M, Emmett Duffy J, Barry JP, Chan F, English CA, Galindo HM, Grebmeier JM, Hollowed AB, Knowlton N, Polovina J, Rabalais NN, Sydeman WJ, Talley LD (2012) Climate change impacts on marine ecosystems. Ann Rev Mar Sci 4:11–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Wernberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bayden D. Russell
    • 2
  • Mads S. Thomsen
    • 3
  • Sean D. Connell
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of Western Australia, UWA Oceans Institute and School of Plant Biology, Australian Institute of Marine ScienceCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Southern Seas Ecology LaboratoriesSchool of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Marine Ecology Research GroupSchool of Biological Sciences, University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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