Climate-driven changes in functional biogeography of Arctic marine fish communities

André Frainer, Raul Primicerio, Susanne Kortsch, Magnus Aune, Andrey V. Dolgov, Maria Fossheim, Michaela M. Aschan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change triggers poleward shifts in species distribution leading to changes in biogeography. In the marine environment, fish respond quickly to warming, causing community-wide reorganizations, which result in profound changes in ecosystem functioning. Functional biogeography provides a framework to address how ecosystem functioning may be affected by climate change over large spatial scales. However, there are few studies on functional biogeography in the marine environment, and none in the Arctic, where climate-driven changes are most rapid and extensive. We investigated the impact of climate warming on the functional biogeography of the Barents Sea, which is characterized by a sharp zoogeographic divide separating boreal from Arctic species. Our unique dataset covered 52 fish species, 15 functional traits, and 3,660 stations sampled during the recent warming period. We found that the functional traits characterizing Arctic fish communities, mainly composed of small-sized bottom-dwelling benthivores, are being rapidly replaced by traits of incoming boreal species, particularly the larger, longer lived, and more piscivorous species. The changes in functional traits detected in the Arctic can be predicted based on the characteristics of species expected to undergo quick poleward shifts in response to warming. These are the large, generalist, motile species, such as cod and haddock. We show how functional biogeography can provide important insights into the relationship between species composition, diversity, ecosystem functioning, and environmental drivers. This represents invaluable knowledge in a period when communities and ecosystems experience rapid climate-driven changes across biogeographical regions.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)12202–12207
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume114
Issue number46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Barents Sea
  • marine ecosystems
  • trait-based ecology
  • Climate warming
  • Functional traits

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