Physiology and competitive interactions influence modelled outcomes of climate change on a resident and a range-shifting species

Ms Samantha Twiname1, Dr Eva Plaganyi2, Dr Alistair Hobday3,4, Dr Quinn Fitzgibbon1, Professor Chris Carter1, Professor Gretta Pecl1,4

1Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Taroona, Australia, 2CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Brisbane, Australia, 3CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Australia, 4Centre for Marine Socioecology, Hobart, Australia

Species redistribution’s are one of the most commonly documented changes in our oceans as a result of climate change and are occurring globally. To date, many models trying to predict these ‘range shifts’ of species have used a correlative approach. While correlative models are informative and useful, it has been suggested that these models may not consider important mechanisms that drive species range shifts. Models of Intermediate Complexity for Ecosystem assessments (MICE) are focused, flexible models that can incorporate a variety of data allowing them to become more mechanistic in nature than purely correlative models. Here, we develop a MICE that incorporates data on physiology, competition and population dynamics to project changes in biomass and distribution of a resident and range-shifting species of spiny lobster in Tasmania, Australia. Model results of projected biomass suggest that the range-shifting species increases in Tasmanian waters under future ocean warming scenarios, and that this is driven in part by the physiological effect on new recruits into the region. The model suggests that physiological effects have little impact on the resident lobster species abundance in response to environmental change, however also suggests that competitive interactions with the range-shifting species will result in decreases in the resident species projected biomass in some areas. Our study demonstrates how physiological data can be integrated in MICE and emphasises that physiological parameters can greatly affect the outcome of model projections.


Samantha is a recently completed PhD student at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart, where her project focused on the effects of ocean warming on the range shifts and interactions between two species of spiny lobster.

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