A new Rutgers study has found that warming of the oceans due to climate change will mean fewer productive fish species to catch in the future.
The study also found that as temperatures warm, predator-prey interactions will prevent species from keeping up with the conditions where they could thrive.
The new study which was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, presented a mixed picture of ocean health.
It showed that not only will large species and commercially important fisheries shift out of their historical ranges as the climate warms, but they will also likely not be as abundant even in their new geographic ranges.
The study co-author Malin Pinsky, said that what that suggests from a fisheries perspective is that while the species we fish today will be there tomorrow, they will not be there in the same abundance.
Pinsky, who is an associate professor in Rutgers’ Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, said that In such a context, overfishing becomes easier because the population growth rates are low.
“Warming coupled with food-web dynamics will be like putting marine biodiversity in a blender,” he said,
While previous studies of shifting habitat ranges focused on the direct impacts of climate change on individual species, these “one-at-a-time” species projections offer insights into the composition of ocean communities in a warming world, they have largely failed to consider how food-web interactions will affect the pace of change.
Using sophisticated computer models, the researchers involved in the study, determined that predator-prey interactions cause many species, especially large predators, to shift their ranges more slowly than climate.
The new study also focused on trophic interactions—the process of one species being nourished at the expense of another—and other food-web dynamics to determine how climate change affects species’ ranges.
Story was adapted from Phys.Org.