03: Impacts of Climate Change on Ocean Ecosystems in the 21st Century
Coordinator: Dr. John Bruno, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC USA
Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor and Director, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland
Dr. Mary O’Connor, Assistant Professor, The University of British Columbia
Dr. Steve Gaines, Professor and Dean, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, The University of California at Santa Barbara
Rapidly rising greenhouse gas concentrations are driving ocean systems toward conditions not seen for millions of years, with an associated risk of fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation. Changes in biological function in the ocean caused by anthropogenic climate change go far beyond death, extinctions and habitat loss: fundamental processes are being altered, community assemblages are being reorganized and ecological surprises are likely. This session will bring together experts from around the world to outline the most up to date science on how anthropogenic climate change is altering the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems.
There is a large body of empirical evidence indicating that anthropogenic climate change is substantially impacting ocean ecosystems. The evidence comes from many taxa, locations and habitats.
Changes in biological function in the ocean caused by anthropogenic climate change go far beyond death, extinctions and habitat loss: fundamental processes are being altered, community assemblages are being reorganized and ecological surprises are likely.
These changes will have significant consequences for people.
Coral Reefs and Climate ChangeLast Updated on 2010-12-13 00:00:00
Research on the current and future impacts of human-induced climate change on reef-building corals is causing scientists and managers to become increasingly concerned about the future of coral reefs. A healthy reef ecosystem literally buzzes with sounds, activity and colors and is populated by incredibly dense aggregations of fish and invertebrates. In this respect, tropical reefs are more reminiscent of the African Serengeti than of the tropical rainforest they are often compared to, where the resident birds and mammals can be secretive and difficult to see. A coral reef can contain tens of thousands of species and some of the world’s most dense and diverse communities of vertebrate animals. Unfortunately, very few remaining coral reefs resemble this pristine condition; on most, corals and fishes are much less abundant than they were only a few decades ago.... More »
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