Meta-analysis reveals complex marine biological responses to the interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 1016–1030, April 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(4): 1016–1030
- Issue published online: 11 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 23 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 5 NOV 2012
- Marie Curie Career Integration. Grant Number: PCIG10-GA-2011-303685
- Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences Ph.D. studentship
Vol. 3, Issue 8, 2782, Article first published online: 12 AUG 2013
- Climate change;
- multiple stressors;
- ocean acidification;
- ocean warming;
- synergistic interactions
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.