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The future of the northeast Atlantic benthic flora in a high CO<inf>2</inf> world

Brodie, J and Williamson, CJ and Smale, DA and Kamenos, NA and Mieszkowska, N and Santos, R and Cunliffe, M and Steinke, M and Yesson, C and Anderson, KM and Asnaghi, V and Brownlee, C and Burdett, HL and Burrows, MT and Collins, S and Donohue, PJC and Harvey, B and Foggo, A and Noisette, F and Nunes, J and Ragazzola, F and Raven, JA and Schmidt, DN and Suggett, D and Teichberg, M and Hall-Spencer, JM (2014) 'The future of the northeast Atlantic benthic flora in a high CO<inf>2</inf> world.' Ecology and Evolution, 4 (13). 2787 - 2798. ISSN 2045-7758

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Abstract

Seaweed and seagrass communities in the northeast Atlantic have been profoundly impacted by humans, and the rate of change is accelerating rapidly due to runaway CO2 emissions and mounting pressures on coastlines associated with human population growth and increased consumption of finite resources. Here, we predict how rapid warming and acidification are likely to affect benthic flora and coastal ecosystems of the northeast Atlantic in this century, based on global evidence from the literature as interpreted by the collective knowledge of the authorship. We predict that warming will kill off kelp forests in the south and that ocean acidification will remove maerl habitat in the north. Seagrasses will proliferate, and associated epiphytes switch from calcified algae to diatoms and filamentous species. Invasive species will thrive in niches liberated by loss of native species and spread via exponential development of artificial marine structures. Combined impacts of seawater warming, ocean acidification, and increased storminess may replace structurally diverse seaweed canopies, with associated calcified and noncalcified flora, with simple habitats dominated by noncalcified, turf-forming seaweeds. In this study, predictions are made as to how rapid warming and ocean acidification are likely to affect benthic flora and coastal ecosystems of the north-east Atlantic in this century based on global evidence from the literature as interpreted by the collective knowledge of the authorship. We predict that kelp forests will die out in the south due to warming, maerl habitat lost in the north through acidification, seagrasses will proliferate, associated epiphytes will switch from calcified algae to diatoms and filamentous species, and invasive species will thrive. Thus, structurally diverse seaweed canopies with associated calcified and noncalcified flora may be replaced with simple habitats dominated by noncalcified, turf-forming seaweeds. © 2014 The Authors.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2015 10:15
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 10:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13309

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