NANO alumni publication: Multiple facets of marine biodiversity in the Pacific Arctic under future climate

NANO Alumnus Irene Alabia and colleagues published the following article in the Science of The Total Environment journal

Multiple facets of marine biodiversity in the Pacific Arctic under future climate

Alabia et al. (2020) Science of The Total Environment, DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140913



Climate change is triggering a global reorganization of marine life. Biogeographical transition zones, diversity-rich regions straddling biogeographical units where many species live at, or close to, their physiological tolerance limits (i.e., range distribution edges), are redistribution hotspots that offer a unique opportunity to understand the mechanisms and consequences of climate-driven thermophilization processes in natural communities. In this context, we examined the impacts of climate change projections in the 21st century (2026–2100) on marine biodiversity in the Eastern Bering and Chukchi seas within the Pacific Arctic, a climatically exposed and sensitive boreal-to-Arctic transition zone. Overall, projected changes in species distributions, modeled using species distribution models, resulted in poleward increases in species richness and functional redundancy, along with pronounced reductions in phylogenetic distances by century’s end (2076–2100). Future poleward shifts of boreal species in response to warming and sea ice changes are projected to alter the taxonomic and functional biogeography of contemporary Arctic communities as larger, longer-lived and more predatory taxa expand their leading distributional margins. Drawing from the existing evidence from other Arctic regions, these changes are anticipated to increase the susceptibility and vulnerability of the Arctic ecosystems, as trophic connectance between biological components increases, thus decreasing the modularity of Arctic food webs. Our results demonstrate how integrating multiple diversity facets can provide key insights into the relationships between climate change, species composition and ecosystem functioning across marine biogeographic regions.



  • Biodiversity
  • Species distributions
  • Climate change
  • Biogeographic transition zones
  • Pacific Arctic region

Link for the publication here

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