The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: The influence of environmental variability on the ecological performance of native and non-native marine organisms

Currently Active: 
Yes

There is growing evidence that suggest that climate change may facilitate the spread and establishment of non-native species. This project will develop novel manipulative experiments to examine how temperature mediates ecological performance of, and interactions between, native and non-native species. Greater understanding of the responses of native and non-native species to warming and extreme events is critical for predicting ecological change and identifying management strategies.

Project Overview

Coastal marine habitats represent some of the most invaded systems on Earth because of the openness of marine systems and a long history of human activities that translocate species (i.e. shipping, aquaculture). Marine ecosystems are also threatened by climate change, which is altering species interactions, driving shifts in species’ distributions, and changes in community structure. There is emerging evidence to suggest that climate change - specifically ocean warming and the frequency of extreme climatic events - may facilitate the spread and establishment of non-native marine species at local and regional scales. Conversely, recent research has shown that some assemblages comprising native and non-native species are resilient to realistic warming scenarios, and that increased temperature stress does not necessarily favour non-native species. Clearly, interactions between climate change and invasive species are poorly resolved, and are likely to be context and species-dependent. This project will address this important knowledge gap by developing novel manipulative experiments to examine how temperature mediates ecological performance of, and interactions between, native and non-native species in model ecosystems. Greater understanding of the responses of native and non-native species to warming and extreme events is critical for predicting ecological change and identifying management strategies.

This project has been funded by SPITFIRE and the MBA

Associated research themes

Dan Smale Lab

Ecology and Evolution Lab

Macroecology Lab

Related research groups

Marine Biology and Ecology

Staff

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