Changes in the range of some common rocky shore species in Britain - A response to climate change?

N. Mieszkowska, M. A. Kendall, S. J. Hawkins, R. Leaper, P. Williamson, N. J. Hardman-Mountford, A. J. Southward

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Abstract

Since the 1990s there has been a period of rapid climate warming in Europe. Long-term broad scale datasets coupled with time series at specific locations for rocky intertidal species dating back to the 1950s have been collected in Britain and Ireland. Resurveys of the original locations in 2001-2003 have been undertaken to identify changes in the biogeographical range and abundance of these species. The results show that some 'southern' species including Osilinus lineatus da Costa and Gibbula umbilicalis da Costa have undergone north and north-eastern range extensions. Populations have increased in abundance and adult size has decreased since the previous surveys were conducted. These changes have been synchronous throughout Britain, strongly suggesting that climate is responsible. The use of intertidal species as indicators of climate change is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume555
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006

Keywords

  • Change
  • Climate
  • Indicator
  • Intertidal
  • MarClim
  • Rocky

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