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: Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

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

Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

15 minutes ago

Sao Paulo is thirsty. A severe drought is hitting Brazil's largest city and thriving economic capital with no end in sight, threatening the municipal water supply to millions of people.

Climate change: meteorologists preparing for the worst

5 hours ago

Intense aerial turbulence, ice storms and scorching heatwaves, huge ocean waves—the world's climate experts forecast apocalyptic weather over the coming decades at a conference in Montreal that ended Thursday.

Sunlight, not microbes, key to CO2 in Arctic

6 hours ago

The vast reservoir of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost is gradually being converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) after entering the freshwater system in a process thought to be controlled largely by microbial ...

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.