Scientific publication

Range map data of ecosystem structuring species under global climate change

Credits: Photo by Australian Institute of Marine Science

Understanding how climate change will reshape the distribution of marine species is essential for developing effective conservation strategies. Yet, many crucial species – those that form essential underwater habitats – have been overlooked in existing data. Additionally, outdated climate models have hampered accurate projections of how these species might fare in the long term.

Our team addresses these issues by providing detailed range maps for 980 marine species critical to ocean health, including seagrasses, kelps, fucoids, and cold-water corals. These maps cover both current distributions (2010-2020) and future scenarios (2090-2100). Importantly, our projections use the latest climate models, from low emission scenarios outlined in the Paris Agreement to higher emission possibilities, giving a realistic range of potential outcomes.

Building these maps involved advanced machine learning algorithms, the most comprehensive datasets available, and careful quality control. This focus on accuracy means our maps offer a powerful tool for policymakers and conservationists, offering insights into:

  1. Changing “Hotspots”: Where marine biodiversity might increase or decrease.
  2. Vulnerable Habitats: Areas likely to experience the greatest shifts in species distribution.
  3. Conservation Planning: How to protect the most critical ecosystems as the climate changes.

Our commitment is to provide scientifically rigorous data that can underpin effective ocean conservation and ensure the resilience of these vital marine environments.

Main reference

Gouvêa, L., Fragkopoulou, Legrand, L., & Assis, Serrão, E.A. J. (2024). Range map data of marine ecosystem structuring species under global climate change. Data in Brief.

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Jorge Assis [PhD, Associate Researcher]
Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve [Faro, Portugal]
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