Global Marine Hotspots Network


Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
15-21 Nubeena Cres
7053 Taroona
42° 57' 1.3356" S, 147° 21' 16.5528" E

The Global Marine Hotspots Network was created because the oceans are not warming evenly and those areas that are warming the fastest – ocean warming ‘hotspots’ – can be considered as the world’s natural laboratories to provide the knowledge and tools to enable us to adapt wisely, efficiently, and effectively to meet the challenges of a warming environment. The Network was designed to better understand the impacts of climate change on commercial fisheries, which support coastal communities and global industries.

Atlantis Ecosystem Modeling in Golden Bays, Tasman and Chatham Rise Regions


Golden Bay and Tasman Bay
New Zealand
40° 49' 9.7068" S, 173° 10' 48.8532" E

Effective species management requires an understanding of species’ response to changing conditions. The Atlantis model, used by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, explores ecosystems to consider impacts of multiple factors. It is currently being used to consider fisheries, climate change, the impacts of pollutants, and habitat damage due to fishing and mining. While Atlantis has been used around the world, this project is focused on effectively modeling the Tasman and Golden Bays region, as well as Chatham Rise.

Promoting Climate Awareness and Adaptive Planning in Three Atlantic Fisheries Communities Using the VCAPS Process and System Dynamics Model - Maine Lobster Fishery


United States
44° 13' 7.9572" N, 68° 51' 44.298" W
University of Maine Extension/Maine Sea Grant, Western Washington University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Social and Environmental Institute, North Carolina Sea Grant

With the demise of the North Atlantic groundfish stocks, the lobster industry has become the most important fishery in New England with Maine’s lobster fishery one of the most successful in the United States. Since 1985, income from lobsters in Maine has steadily increased by nearly 400%. While many view this as a success, this lucrative monoculture puts pressure on the industry with many unknowns in the future ecologically and socially.

Operationalizing ecosystem-based adaptation: harnessing ecosystem services to buffer communities against climate change

Ecosystem-based approaches for climate change adaptation are promoted at international, national, and local levels by both scholars and practitioners. However, local planning practices that support these approaches are scattered, and measures are neither systematically implemented nor comprehensively reviewed. Against this background, this paper advances the operationalization of ecosystem-based adaptation by improving our knowledge of how ecosystem-based approaches can be considered in local planning (operational governance level). We review current research on ecosystem services in urban areas and examine four Swedish coastal municipalities to identify the key characteristics of both implemented and planned measures that support ecosystem-based adaptation. The results show that many of the measures that have been implemented focus on biodiversity rather than climate change adaptation, which is an important factor in only around half of all measures. Furthermore, existing measures are limited in their focus regarding the ecological structures and the ecosystem services they support, and the hazards and risk factors they address. We conclude that a more comprehensive approach to sustainable ecosystem-based adaptation planning and its systematic mainstreaming is required. Our framework for the analysis of ecosystem-based adaptation measures proved to be useful in identifying how ecosystem-related matters are addressed in current practice and strategic planning, and in providing knowledge on how ecosystem-based adaptation can further be considered in urban planning practice. Such a systematic analysis framework can reveal the ecological structures, related ecosystem services, and risk-reducing approaches that are missing and why. This informs the discussion about why specific measures are not considered and provides pathways for alternate measures/designs, related operations, and policy processes at different scales that can foster sustainable adaptation and transformation in municipal governance and planning.

The State of Climate Change Adaptation in Water Resources of the Southeast United States and U.S. Caribbean

Learn about climate adaptation activities in the Southeast United States, focusing on water resources in 11 states in the Southeast including- Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, and Florida - as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Gunnison Basin Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Climate change is already changing ecosystems and affecting people in the southwestern United States. Rising temperatures have contributed to large-scale ecological impacts, affecting plants, animals, as well as ecosystem services, e.g., water supply. The climate of the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, is projected to get warmer over the next few decades as part of a larger pattern of warming in the western United States. Natural resource managers need to understand both past and potential future impacts of climate change on land and water resources to help inform management and conservation activities. The goals of this vulnerability assessment are to identify which species and ecosystems of the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, are likely to be most at risk to projected climatic changes and why they are likely to be vulnerable. This report is intended to help natural resource managers set priorities for conservation, develop effective adaptation strategies, and build resilience in the face of climate change.

Vulnerability is the degree to which a system or species is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. In this report, we focus on exposure and sensitivity to describe vulnerability. Exposure is the character, magnitude, and rate of climatic change a species or system is likely to experience. Sensitivity is the degree to which a system or species is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by expected climate variability or change. Vulnerability ratings of ecosystems are defined as the proportion of the ecosystem at risk of being eliminated or reduced by 2050 as a result of climate change. For species, vulnerability ratings are defined as the species’ abundance and/or range extent within the Basin likely to decrease or disappear by 2050.

This report summarizes the results of a landscape-scale climate change vulnerability assessment of the Upper Gunnison Basin (above Blue Mesa Reservoir; referred to as Gunnison Basin in this report) to determine the relative vulnerability of 24 ecosystems and 73 species of conservation concern, using methods developed by Manomet Center for Conservation Science and NatureServe. The report also summarizes the results of a social vulnerability and resilience assessment of ranching and recreation sectors in the Basin.

Shellfish genetics could be the key to climate change adaptation

A recent NOAA study found that by 2040, Alaskan shellfish hatcheries may no longer be sustainable because of ocean acidification, unless serious mitigation efforts are put in place. We recently reported on a hatchery in Oregon that’s become a model for adapting to these different conditions. But the long term solution may actually lie in shellfish genes. Evolution and resiliency are the buzzwords for a sustainable mariculture industry in Alaska, a state that is particularly vulnerable.

Rare Species Support Vulnerable Functions in High- Diversity Ecosystems

Around the world, the human-induced collapses of populations and species have triggered a sixth mass extinction crisis, with rare species often being the first to disappear. Although the role of species diversity in the maintenance of ecosystem processes has been widely investigated, the role of rare species remains controversial. A critical issue is whether common species insure against the loss of functions supported by rare species. This issue is even more critical in species-rich ecosystems where high functional redundancy among species is likely and where it is thus often assumed that ecosystem functioning is buffered against species loss. Here, using extensive datasets of species occurrences and functional traits from three highly diverse ecosystems (846 coral reef fishes, 2,979 alpine plants, and 662 tropical trees), we demonstrate that the most distinct combinations of traits are supported predominantly by rare species both in terms of local abundance and regional occupancy. Moreover, species that have low functional redundancy and are likely to support the most vulnerable functions, with no other species carrying similar combinations of traits, are rarer than expected by chance in all three ecosystems. For instance, 63% and 98% of fish species that are likely to support highly vulnerable functions in coral reef ecosystems are locally and regionally rare, respectively. For alpine plants, 32% and 89% of such species are locally and regionally rare, respectively. Remarkably, 47% of fish species and 55% of tropical tree species that are likely to support highly vulnerable functions have only one individual per sample on average. Our results emphasize the importance of rare species conservation, even in highly diverse ecosystems, which are thought to exhibit high functional redundancy. Rare species offer more than aesthetic, cultural, or taxonomic diversity value; they disproportionately increase the potential breadth of functions provided by ecosystems across spatial scales. As such, they are likely to insure against future uncertainty arising from climate change and the ever-increasing anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems. Our results call for a more detailed understanding of the role of rarity and functional vulnerability in ecosystem functioning.

Potential Impacts of Climate Change on California’s Fish and Fisheries

In California much work is being done at the local and state levels to mitigate the effects of climate change, and develop adaptation strategies. In particular, California recently released for public comment “Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risk” – an update to the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Assessment. In it, decision makers specifically highlight the need to improve understanding of climate risks to biodiversity and habitat, among other recommendations.

This report reviews aspects of the latest scientific literature on the potential impacts of climate change on California’s fish and fisheries. It provides a general overview of possible impacts on upwelling and primary ocean productivity, and information on how ocean temperature, stratification, and changes in wind and currents may affect the distribution and range and productivity of fish species of commercial and recreational value.

Led by Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT) member Dr. Bill Sydeman of the Farallon Institute, this report provides valuable information on the state of the science of the risks posed by climate change to California’s marine ecosystems and fisheries. While not designed as a vulnerability assessment for individual species, this report lays the necessary groundwork for such an investigation in the future.

Projecting global marine biodiversity impacts under climate change scenarios

Climate change can impact the pattern of marine biodiversity through changes in species’ distributions. However, global studies on climate change impacts on ocean biodiversity have not been performed so far. Our paper aims to investigate the global patterns of such impacts by projecting the distributional ranges of a sample of 1066 exploited marine fish and invertebrates for 2050 using a newly developed dynamic bioclimate envelope model. Our projections show that climate change may lead to numerous local extinction in the sub-polar regions, the tropics and semi-enclosed seas. Simultaneously, species invasion is projected to be most intense in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean. Together, they result in dramatic species turnovers of over 60% of the present biodiversity, implying ecological disturbances that potentially disrupt ecosystem services. Our projections can be viewed as a set of hypotheses for future analytical and empirical studies.