Global vulnerability of marine mammals to global warming

Albouy, Camille; Delattre, Valentine; Donati, Giulia; Frölicher, Thomas L.; Albouy-Boyer, Severine; Rufino, Marta; Pellissier, Loïc; Mouillot, David; Leprieur, Fabien (2020). Global vulnerability of marine mammals to global warming. Scientific reports, 10(1) Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-019-57280-3

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Although extinctions due to climate change are still uncommon, they might surpass those caused by habitat loss or overexploitation over the next few decades. Among marine megafauna, mammals fulfill key and irreplaceable ecological roles in the ocean, and the collapse of their populations may therefore have irreversible consequences for ecosystem functioning and services. Using a trait-based approach, we assessed the vulnerability of all marine mammals to global warming under high and low greenhouse gas emission scenarios for the middle and the end of the 21st century. We showed that the North Pacific Ocean, the Greenland Sea and the Barents Sea host the species that are most vulnerable to global warming. Future conservation plans should therefore focus on these regions, where there are long histories of overexploitation and there are high levels of current threats to marine mammals. Among the most vulnerable marine mammals were several threatened species, such as the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) and the dugong (Dugong dugon), that displayed unique combinations of functional traits. Beyond species loss, we showed that the potential extinctions of the marine mammals that were most vulnerable to global warming might induce a disproportionate loss of functional diversity, which may have profound impacts on the future functioning of marine ecosystems worldwide.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Frölicher, Thomas

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

2045-2322

Publisher:

Springer Nature

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas Frölicher

Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2021 14:10

Last Modified:

11 Apr 2021 03:07

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41598-019-57280-3

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/154104

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/154104

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