Antarctic ecosystems in transition – life between stresses and opportunities

Gutt, Julian, Isla, Enrique, Xavier, José C., Adams, Byron J., Ahn, In‐Young, Cheng, C.‐H. Christina, Colesie, Claudia, Cummings, Vonda J., di Prisco, Guido, Griffiths, Huw, Hawes, Ian, Hogg, Ian, McIntyre, Trevor, Meiners, Klaus M., Pearce, David, Peck, Lloyd, Piepenburg, Dieter, Reisinger, Ryan R., Saba, Grace K., Schloss, Irene R., Signori, Camila N., Smith, Craig R., Vacchi, Marino, Verde, Cinzia and Wall, Diana H. (2021) Antarctic ecosystems in transition – life between stresses and opportunities. Biological Reviews, 96 (3). pp. 798-821. ISSN 1464-7931

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Important findings from the second decade of the 21st century on the impact of environmental change on biological processes in the Antarctic were synthesised by 26 international experts. Ten key messages emerged that have stakeholder-relevance and/or a high impact for the scientific community. They address (i) altered biogeochemical cycles, (ii) ocean acidification, (iii) climate change hotspots, (iv) unexpected dynamism in seabed-dwelling populations, (v) spatial range shifts, (vi) adaptation and thermal resilience, (vii) sea ice related biological fluctuations, (viii) pollution, (ix) endangered terrestrial endemism and (x) the discovery of unknown habitats. Most Antarctic biotas are exposed to multiple stresses and considered vulnerable to environmental change due to narrow tolerance ranges, rapid change, projected circumpolar impacts, low potential for timely genetic adaptation, and migration barriers. Important ecosystem functions, such as primary production and energy transfer between trophic levels, have already changed, and biodiversity patterns have shifted. A confidence assessment of the degree of 'scientific understanding' revealed an intermediate level for most of the more detailed sub-messages, indicating that process-oriented research has been successful in the past decade. Additional efforts are necessary, however, to achieve the level of robustness in scientific knowledge that is required to inform protection measures of the unique Antarctic terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and their contributions to global biodiversity and ecosystem services. [Abstract copyright: © 2020 The Authors. Biological Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Cambridge Philosophical Society.]

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The discussion and writing of this synthesis was supported by the SCAR AnT‐ERA Research Programme. We dedicate this paper to Guido di Prisco, an outstanding, highly ambitious and open‐minded Antarctic biologist who contributed substantially to many research initiatives, most recently to this synthesis, before his death in September 2019. We appreciate the comments of the reviewers Paul Dayton and Rolf Gradinger, which led to considerable improvements. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2021 09:38
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2023 09:15

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