Impacts of climate change on non-native species
Elizabeth J. Cook, Stuart Jenkins, Christine Maggs, Dan Minchin, Frédéric Mineur, Chris Nall and Jack Sewell
Cook, E.J., Jenkins, S., Maggs, C., Minchin, D., Mineur, F., Nall, C. and Sewell, J. (2013) Impacts of climate change on non-native species, MCCIP Science Review 2013, 155-166, doi:10.14465/2013.arc17.155-166
Download full report:
Anthropogenic changes to climate and extreme weather events have already led to the introduction of non-native species (NNS) to the North Atlantic. Regional climate models predict that there will be a continuation of the current trend of warming throughout the 21st century providing enhanced opportunities for NNS at each stage of the invasion process.
Increasing evidence is now available to show that climate change has led to the northwards range expansion of a number of NNS in the UK and Ireland, such as the Asian club tunicate Styela clava and the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas.
Providing definitive evidence though of the direct linkage between climate change and the spread of the majority of NNS is extremely challenging, due to other confounding factors, such as anthropogenic activity
Localised patterns of water movement and food supply may also be complicating the overall pattern of northwards range expansion, by preventing the expansion of some NNS, such as the slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata and the Chilean oyster Ostrea chilensis, from a particular region.
A greater understanding of the other aspects of climate change and increased atmospheric CO2, such as increased rainfall, heat waves, frequency of storm events, and ocean acidification may aid in increasing the confidence that scientists have in predicting the long term influence of climate change on the introduction, spread and establishment of NNS.