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Marine Biology
SA 5005

+61 8 8303 3999
+61 8 8303 4364

Climate Change in Temperate Seas

Our research forecasts future habitats

We use projected estimates of climate change (e.g. ocean acidification, temperature) as modified by local management (e.g. fishing & pollution).  This work is being done within the context that global climate continues to change.  A key concern centres on the rate of current change.  Even if we maintain CO2 emissions at current levels, an unlikely scenario, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will increase by over 50 % in coming years. This increase will inturn cause ocean acidification as more CO2 is dissolved into the worlds oceans.

Our forthcoming work will use a combination of laboratory and field techniques.  Lab studies can be carefully controlled, but the range of ecological interactions is quite limited. Conversely, field studies benefit from interactions within a natural community, but spatial and temporal variation in climate parameters do not behave exactly the same as future ocean conditions. Combining both approaches will provide a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Ecological change - accelerated

  • Connell SD, Kroeker KJ, Fabricius KE, Kline DI, Russell BD (2013) The other ocean acidification problem: CO2 as a resource among competitors for ecosystem dominance. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368:20120442
  • Russell BD, JI Thompson, LJ Falkenberg & SD Connell 2009   Synergistic effects of climate change and local stressors: CO2 and nutrient-driven change in subtidal rocky habitats.  Global Change Biology 15: 2153-2162 (download)
  • Connell SD & BD Russell 2010  The direct effects of increasing CO2 and temperature on non-calcifying organisms: increasing the potential for phase shifts  in kelp forests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277:1409-1415. (download)


    Ecological change - retarded

    • Ghedini G, Russell BD, Connell SD (2015) Trophic compensation reinforces resistance: herbivory absorbds the increasing effects of multiple disturbances. Ecology Letters 18:182-187
    • McSkimming C, et al., Connell SD (2015) Compensation of nutrient pollution by herbivores in seagrass meadows.  JEMBE 471: 112–118
    • Falkenberg, L.J., Russell B.D., Connell S.D. 2012. Strong species interactions resist the synergistic effects of local and global pollution in kelp forests. PloS One 7:e33841. (download)

    Research perspectives: methods, interpretations & trends

    • Russell BD & SD Connell 2009  Eutrophication science: moving into the future. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24: 527-528. (download)
    • Russell BD & SD Connell 2010  Honing the geoengineering strategy. Science 327, 144-5. (request a copy)


    • Irving AD, SD Connell & BC Russell  2011 Restoring coastal plants to improve global carbon storage: reaping what we sow. PloS One 6:e18311. (download)
    • Russell, BD., Harley, Wernberg, Mieszkowska, Widdicombe, Hall-Spencer & S D Connell 2012. Predicting ecosystem shifts requires new approaches that integrate the effects of climate change across entire systems. Biology Letters 8:164-166 (download)

    Reviews: cross-scale stressors, integrative methods & forecasts

    • Harley CDG & SD Connell 2009  Shifts in abiotic variables and consequences for diversity.  In Marine Hard Bottom Communities: Vol 206:257-268. Springer-Verlag. 
    • Wernberg T, Russell BD et al., & SD Connell 2011 Impacts of climate change in a global hotspot for temperate marine biodiversity and ocean warming. JEMBE 400: 7-16. (download)


    • Connell SD Russell BD & AD Irving 2011  Can strong consumer and producer effects be reconciled to better forecast 'catastrophic' phase-shifts in marine ecosystems?  JEMBE 400: 296-301. (download)
    • Russell BD & SD Connell 2012 Origins and consequences of global and local stressors:  incorporating climate and non-climate phenomena that buffer or accelerate ecological change. Marine Biology 159:2633-2639 (request a copy)