‘Caribbean Creep’ Chills Out: Climate Change and Marine Invasive Species


Super Célula
21 Mar 2007
Estremoz (401 metros)
Research Article

Background - New marine invasions have been recorded in increasing numbers along the world's coasts due in part to the warming of the oceans and the ability of many invasive marine species to tolerate a broader thermal range than native species. Several marine invertebrate species have invaded the U.S. southern and mid-Atlantic coast from the Caribbean and this poleward range expansion has been termed ‘Caribbean Creep’. While models have predicted the continued decline of global biodiversity over the next 100 years due to global climate change, few studies have examined the episodic impacts of prolonged cold events that could impact species range expansions.
Methodology/Principal Findings - A pronounced cold spell occurred in January 2010 in the U.S. southern and mid-Atlantic coast and resulted in the mortality of several terrestrial and marine species. To experimentally test whether cold-water temperatures may have caused the disappearance of one species of the ‘Caribbean Creep’ we exposed the non-native crab Petrolisthes armatus to different thermal treatments that mimicked abnormal and severe winter temperatures. Our findings indicate that Petrolisthes armatus cannot tolerate prolonged and extreme cold temperatures (4–6°C) and suggest that aperiodic cold winters may be a critical ‘reset’ mechanism that will limit the range expansion of other ‘Caribbean Creep’ species.
Conclusions/Significance - We suggest that temperature ‘aberrations’ such as ‘cold snaps’ are an important and overlooked part of climate change. These climate fluctuations should be accounted for in future studies and models, particularly with reference to introduced subtropical and tropical species and predictions of both rates of invasion and rates of unidirectional geographic expansion.

João Canning-Clode (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland, United States of America; IMAR / Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores, Horta, Portugal; Center of Oceanography, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal) e outros

Fonte: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0029657