Impacts of climate change on intertidal habitats
Nova Mieszkowska, Louise Firth and Matt Bentley
Mieszkowska, N., Firth, L. and Bentley, M. (2013) Impacts of climate change on intertidal habitats, MCCIP Science Review 2013, 180-192, doi:10.14465/2013.arc19.180-192
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The extent of intertidal habitat has not declined over the past few years. Whilst evidence for faunal changes in soft sediment communities remains scarce, there is clear evidence for an increase in the extent of the invasive oyster Crassostrea gigas beds, particularly in Southern England. For intertidal seagrass beds, insufficient information on bed extent and thermal tolerance and pH sensitivity mean that at present these drivers seem to be exerting both negative and positive impacts respectively. The synergistic impact is not currently known.
Range shifts in warm and coldwater species are continuing to occur. Warmwater species inhabiting rocky shores have not shown any adverse effects despite the colder winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 with similar levels of recruitment and no mass mortality of adults for warmwater species in populations monitored annually around the UK.
The need to understand climate change impacts within the real-world context of multiple stressors is especially important for intertidal habitats which are subject to pressures from many human activities, and is coming to the fore of research priorities.