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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Distribution of marine species / Distribution of marine species (CLIM 015) - Assessment published Nov 2012

Distribution of marine species (CLIM 015) - Assessment published Nov 2012

Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Coasts and seas Coasts and seas

Tags:
climate change
DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CLIM 015
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1958-2009
Geographic coverage:
North Sea Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: How is climate change affecting the regional distribution of marine organisms in European seas?

Key messages

  • Increases in regional sea temperatures have triggered a major northward expansion of warmer-water plankton in the North-east Atlantic and a northward retreat of colder-water plankton. This northerly movement is about 10 ° latitude (1 100  km) over the past 40 years, and it seems to have accelerated since 2000.
  • Sub-tropical species are occurring with increasing frequency in European waters, and sub-Arctic species are receding northwards.
  • Further changes in the distribution of marine species are expected, with projected further climate change, but quantitative projections are not available.

Calanus ratio in the North Sea

Note: Continuous Plankton Recorder data. Left: Temporal and seasonal distribution of the Calanus ratio (1958–2009). Right: Change in Calanus ratio in the North Sea between (1958 and 2009).

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Past trends

Increases in regional sea temperatures have triggered a major northward movement of warmer-water plankton in the North-east Atlantic and a similar retreat of colder-water plankton to the north. This northerly movement is about 10 o latitude (1 100 km) over the past 40 years (a mean poleward movement of between 200 and 250 km per decade), and there appears to have been an acceleration since 2000 [i]. Recently, a Norwegian study showed even faster rates of northward movement between 1997 and 2010. Out of about 1 600 benthic marine species found in coastal waters of southern Norway, 565 species had expanded their distribution northwards along the coast, at rates of 500–800 km per decade [ii]. These rates are much faster than any other documented terrestrial study.

Projections

Further changes in the distribution of marine species are expected with projected further climate change, but quantitative projections are not available.


[i] Grégory Beaugrand, „Decadal changes in climate and ecosystems in the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas“, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 56, Nr. 8–10 (April 2009): 656–673, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.12.022.

[ii] T. Brattegard, Endringer i norsk marin bunnfauna 1997-2010 DN-utredning 8-2011 (Trondheim: Direktoratet for naturforvaltning, 2011), http://www.dirnat.no/content/500042260/Endringer-i-norsk-marin-bunnfauna-1997-2010.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Trine Christiansen

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2012 2.0.1 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 4 years in October-December (Q4)
Filed under:

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100