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Ecology. 2010 Aug;91(8):2198-204.

Ocean warming increases threat of invasive species in a marine fouling community.

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  • 1Bodega Marine Laboratory and Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California-Davis, P.O. Box 247, Bodega Bay, California 94923-0247, USA. cjsorte@ucdavis.edu


We addressed the potential for climate change to facilitate invasions and precipitate shifts in community composition by testing effects of ocean warming on species in a marine fouling community in Bodega Harbor, Bodega Bay, California, USA. First, we determined that introduced species tolerated significantly higher temperatures than natives, suggesting that climate change will have a disproportionately negative impact on native species. Second, we assessed the temperature dependence of survival and growth by exposing juveniles to an ambient control temperature and increased temperatures predicted by ocean warming scenarios (+3 degrees C and +4.5 degrees C) in laboratory mesocosms. We found that responses differed between species, species origins, and demographic processes. Based on the temperature tolerance, survival, and growth results, we predict that, as ocean temperatures increase, native species will decrease in abundance, whereas introduced species are likely to increase in this system. Facilitation of invasions by climate change may already be underway; locally, invasive dominance has increased concurrent with ocean warming over the past approximately 40 years. We suggest that the effects of climate change on communities can occur via both direct impacts on the diversity and abundance of native species and indirect effects due to increased dominance of introduced species.

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