Ocean warming compresses the 3D habitat of marine biota

Dr Gabriel Jorda1, Dr Nuria Marba2, Dr Scott Bennett2, Dr Julia Santana-Garçon2, Dr Susana Agustí3, Dr Carlos Duarte3

1Instituto Español De Oceanografía, Palma, Spain, 2Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA), University of the Balearic Islands – Spanish Council for Scientific Research (UIB-CSIC), Esporles, Spain, 3King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Red Sea Research Center and Computational Biosciences Research Center, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

Vertical migration to reach cooler waters is a suitable strategy for some marine organisms to adapt to ocean warming. Here, we calculate realized Vertical Isotherm Migration rates (VIM, 1980- 2015) to average -6.6+18.8 m decade-1, increasing to a projected average VIM(2006-2100) of -32.3 m decade-1 under a business as usual emission scenario. The seafloor and the depth of the photic layer pose ultimate limits to the habitat compression possible. These limits will be reached by end of this century across much of the ocean leading to a rapid global compression of the 3-D habitat of many marine organisms. Phytoplankton diversity maybe maintained but compressed toward the base of the photic layer while vulnerable, highly productive benthic habitats, especially corals, will have their suitable 3-D habitat rapidly compressed.


Gabriel Jordà is a senior research scientist at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography in Mallorca, Spain (COB-IEO).  His main line of research is the study of marine climate variability with special focus on the interactions with biological processes. That research is mainly based on numerical modelling and on the analysis of climatic databases. In that framework he has developed several observation based products for climate studies on hydrography, sea level and waves. He has worked on a large number of international and national projects and at present he is member of the steering committe of MedCORDEX, HyMEX and CLIVAR-Spain.

Similar Posts