Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Three decades of increasing fish biodiversity across the northeast Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fabrice StephensonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Copyright © 2023 the Author(s). Observed range shifts of numerous species support predictions of climate change models that species will shift their distribution northward into the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas due to ocean warming. However, how this is affecting overall species richness is unclear. Here we analyze 20,670 scientific research trawls from the North Sea to the Arctic Ocean collected from 1994 to 2020, including 193 fish species. We found that demersal fish species richness at the local scale has doubled in some Arctic regions, including the Barents Sea, and increased at a lower rate at adjacent regions in the last three decades, followed by an increase in species richness and turnover at a regional scale. These changes in biodiversity correlated with an increase in sea bottom temperature. Within the study area, Arctic species’ probability of occurrence generally declined over time. However, the increase in species from southern latitudes, together with an increase in some Arctic species, ultimately led to an enrichment of the Arctic and sub-Arctic marine fauna due to increasing water temperature consistent with climate change.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gordo-Vilaseca C, Stephenson F, Coll M, Lavin C, Costello MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Year: 2023

Volume: 120

Issue: 4

Online publication date: 19/01/2023

Acceptance date: 17/12/2022

Date deposited: 22/11/2023

ISSN (print): 0027-8424

ISSN (electronic): 1091-6490

Publisher: National Academy of Sciences


DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2120869120

PubMed id: 36656855


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) Coasts & Oceans Research Programme
SCI 2020/21
Spanish National Project ProOceans