Report card shows Australia's oceans are changing

Aug 16, 2012

The 2012 Marine Climate Change in Australia Report Card shows climate change is having significant impacts on Australia's marine ecosystems.

The report card provides information about the current and predicted-future state of Australia's marine climate and its impact on our marine biodiversity. The report card also outlines actions that are underway to help our marine ecosystems adapt to climate change.

"Australia has some of the world's most unique marine ecosystems," project leader CSIRO's Dr Elvira Poloczanska said.

"They are enjoyed recreationally, generate considerable economic wealth through fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism, and provide irreplaceable services including coastal defence, , nutrient recycling and climate regulation.

"Although there are some concerning findings in the 2012 report card, the information we've compiled is helping to ensure that ocean managers and policy makers are best placed to respond to the challenge of managing the impact that climate change is having on these systems."

Key findings show:

  • warming are influencing the distribution of and animals, with species currently found in tropical and temperate waters likely to move south
  • new research suggests winds over the Southern Ocean and current dynamics are strongly influencing foraging of seabirds that breed in south-east Australia and feed close to the Antarctic each summer
  • some tropical fish species have a greater ability to acclimatise to rising than previously thought
  • the Australian science community is widely engaged in research, monitoring and observing programs to increase our understanding of and inform management
  • adaptation planning is happening now, from seasonal forecast for fisheries and aquaculture, to climate-proofing of breeding sites for turtles and seabirds.
Led by CSIRO, more than 80 Australian from 34 universities and research organisations contributed to the 2012 report card. The report card draws on peer-reviewed research results from hundreds of scientists, demonstrating a high level of scientific consensus.

"Our knowledge of observed and likely impacts of climate change has greatly advanced since the first card in 2009," Dr Poloczanska said.

Aspects of which have been analysed include changes in sea temperature, sea level, the East Australian Current, the Leeuwin Current, and El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

Marine biodiversity assessed for the report card include impacts on coral reefs; tropical, temperate and pelagic fish; marine mammals; marine reptiles; seabirds; mangroves; tidal wetlands; seagrass; macroalgae; marine microbes; phytoplankton and zooplankton. The two new sections included in the 2012 report card focus on the smallest and largest organisms in the oceans: microbes and whales.

Explore further: Five anthropogenic factors that will radically alter northern forests in 50 years

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Marine ecosystems get a climate form guide

Nov 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The first-ever Australian benchmark of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems and options for adaptation is being released in Brisbane today.

Ocean life under threat from climate change

Jun 06, 2008

The international science community must devote more resources to research into the effects climate change is having on ocean environments, according to a paper published today in the journal Science by res ...

Seaweed records show impact of ocean warming

Oct 27, 2011

As the planet continues to warm, it appears that seaweeds may be in especially hot water. New findings reported online on October 27 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, based on herbarium records collected in Aus ...

Biodiversity and climate change - from bad to worse

Dec 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A major new scientific review, involving more than 30 scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands sets out our current knowledge of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity ...

East Coast gliders yield valuable marine life data

Feb 28, 2011

The influence ocean eddies have on marine life in the oceans surrounding Australia’s south-east is expected to become clearer after scientists examine data from new deep-diving research ‘gliders’ ...

Recommended for you

More, bigger wildfires burning western US, study shows

8 hours ago

Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nuge
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 17, 2012
warming sea temperatures are influencing the distribution of marine plants and animals, with species currently found in tropical and temperate waters likely to move south


I read a news article not 5 minutes ago describing how tropical fish and other warm-water sea creatures have been found in waters as far south as Tasmania.

EDIT: Here it is: http://www.abc.ne...9893.htm
NotParker
1 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2012
"some tropical fish species have a greater ability to acclimatise"

Why is that a surprise?

I was sure the foundation of the natural sciences is natural selection showing that plants and animals adapt to constantly changing environment.

More news stories

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...