University Of Tasmania
Bryndum-Buchholz_et_al-2018-Global_Change_Biology.pdf (841.14 kB)
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Twenty‐first‐century climate change impacts on marine animal biomass and ecosystem structure across ocean basins

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posted on 2023-05-20, 01:53 authored by Bryndum-Buchholz, A, Tittensor, DP, Julia BlanchardJulia Blanchard, Cheung, WWL, Coll, M, Galbraith, ED, Jennings, S, Maury, O, Lotze, HK
Climate change effects on marine ecosystems include impacts on primary production, ocean temperature, species distributions, and abundance at local to global scales. These changes will significantly alter marine ecosystem structure and function with associated socio‐economic impacts on ecosystem services, marine fisheries, and fishery‐dependent societies. Yet how these changes may play out among ocean basins over the 21st century remains unclear, with most projections coming from single ecosystem models that do not adequately capture the range of model uncertainty. We address this by using six marine ecosystem models within the Fisheries and Marine Ecosystem Model Intercomparison Project (Fish‐MIP) to analyze responses of marine animal biomass in all major ocean basins to contrasting climate change scenarios. Under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), total marine animal biomass declined by an ensemble mean of 15%–30% (±12%–17%) in the North and South Atlantic and Pacific, and the Indian Ocean by 2100, whereas polar ocean basins experienced a 20%–80% (±35%–200%) increase. Uncertainty and model disagreement were greatest in the Arctic and smallest in the South Pacific Ocean. Projected changes were reduced under a low (RCP2.6) emissions scenario. Under RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, biomass projections were highly correlated with changes in net primary production and negatively correlated with projected sea surface temperature increases across all ocean basins except the polar oceans. Ecosystem structure was projected to shift as animal biomass concentrated in different size‐classes across ocean basins and emissions scenarios. We highlight that climate change mitigation measures could moderate the impacts on marine animal biomass by reducing biomass declines in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean basins. The range of individual model projections emphasizes the importance of using an ensemble approach in assessing uncertainty of future change.


Fisheries Research & Development Corporation


Publication title

Global Change Biology








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bryndum-Buchholz, A and Tittensor, DP and Blanchard, JL and Cheung, WWL and Coll, M and Galbraith, ED and Jennings, S and Maury, O and Lotze, HK, Twenty‐first‐century climate change impacts on marine animal biomass and ecosystem structure across ocean basins, Global Change Biology, 25, (2) pp. 459-472, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Ecosystem adaptation to climate change