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Meta-analysis reveals complex marine biological responses to the interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Pip MooreORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Ocean acidification and warming are considered two of the greatest threats to marine biodiversity, yet the combined effect of these stressors on marine organisms remains largely unclear. Using a meta-analytical approach, we assessed the biological responses of marine organisms to the effects of ocean acidification and warming in isolation and combination. As expected biological responses varied across taxonomic groups, life-history stages, and trophic levels, but importantly, combining stressors generally exhibited a stronger biological (either positive or negative) effect. Using a subset of orthogonal studies, we show that four of five of the biological responses measured (calcification, photosynthesis, reproduction, and survival, but not growth) interacted synergistically when warming and acidification were combined. The observed synergisms between interacting stressors suggest that care must be made in making inferences from single-stressor studies. Our findings clearly have implications for the development of adaptive management strategies particularly given that the frequency of stressors interacting in marine systems will be likely to intensify in the future. There is now an urgent need to move toward more robust, holistic, and ecologically realistic climate change experiments that incorporate interactions. Without them accurate predictions about the likely deleterious impacts to marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning over the next century will not be possible. © 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harvey BP, Gwynn-Jones D, Moore PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecology and Evolution

Year: 2013

Volume: 3

Issue: 4

Pages: 1016-1030

Print publication date: 01/04/2013

Online publication date: 07/03/2013

Date deposited: 04/01/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2045-7758

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1002/ece3.516

Notes: Corrections to article: Volume 3, Issue 8, Ecology and Evolution, pages: 2782-2782. DOI: First Published online: August 12, 2013


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