Climate Change Impacts Marine Ecosystems
New report on effects and adaptation approaches in the North Pacific
New studies on climate change are released so quickly, it can be difficult for resource managers to keep on top of the most current research. As the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC) begins operation, NWF has produced the first-ever compilation of the impacts of climate change and adaptation approaches in marine and coastal ecosystems in the north pacific region.
With approximately 38,200 miles of coastline, the NPLCC region extends from Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska to Bodega Bay in northern California west of the Cascade Mountain Range and Coast Mountains. It is home to iconic salmon and orca, a thriving fish and shellfish industry, and a wide range of habitats essential for the survival of fish, wildlife, birds, and other organisms. Many of these species, habitats, and ecosystems are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate.
Download the full report: Climate Change Effects and Adaptation Approaches in Marine and Coastal Ecosystems in the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative Region: A Compilation of Scientific Literature(pdf)
- Warmer waters are likely to promote increased populations of Pacific salmon in Alaska while stressing populations elsewhere in the region.
- These trends will likely lead to the drying of alpine ponds and wetlands.
- As oxygen levels decline in coastal waters, a few species may expand their territory, but most will be forced to find shallower habitat or perish.
- Sea and shorebirds face losses of habitat and food sources and reproductive failure.
Given that CO2 concentrations will continue to increase and exacerbate climate change effects, adaptation is emerging as an appropriate response to the unavoidable impacts. Adaptive actions such as increasing protected areas and habitat buffers can reduce a system‘s vulnerabilit and increase its capacity to be resilient to changing conditions.
Download by chapter:
- Front Matter: Executive Summary, Table of Contents, & Preface
- Chapter I: Introduction
- Chapter II: CO2 Concentrations, Temperature, & Precipitation
- Chapter III: Major Climate Impacts on Marine and Coastal Environments
- Chapter IV: Implications for Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
- Chapter V: Implications for Coastal Nearshore Habitats and Ecosystems
- Chapter VI: Implications for Species, Populations & Communities
- Chapter VII: Implications for Key Fish, Wildlife, Plants, Plankton, & Shellfish
- Chapter VIII: Adapting to the Effects of Climate Change in the Marine & Coastal Environment
- Chapters IX, X, & XI: Next Steps, Appendices, & Bibliography