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Regional warming-induced species shift in north-west Mediterranean marine caves

TitleRegional warming-induced species shift in north-west Mediterranean marine caves
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsChevaldonné, Lejeusne
Journal Ecology Letters
Keywordsbenthos, biodiversité, biodiversity, climate change, crustacé, crustacea, dérive septentrionale, distribution, distribution d'espèces, France, global warming, Hemimysis sp., invertebrate, invertébré, marine cave, Marseille, Marseilles, mass mortality, Mediterranean sea, Méditerranée nord-occidentale, Méditerrannée occidentale, Mer Méditerranée, monitoring, mortalité massive, mysidacé, mysidacea, north-western Mediterranean, northward shift, Provence, réchauffement global, species distribution, temperature, thermotolerance, threat, warming, western Mediterranean

The north-western Mediterranean Sea's high biodiversity originates from a mixture of temperate and subtropical species. Large-scale warming has been detected through northward range shifts of 'warm-water' species, and mass-mortality events for 'coldwater' invertebrates. Marine caves are affected in a more subtle way. By monitoring endemic species of cave mysids (Crustacea) and comparing our results with data in the literature, we observed a strong decline in one species, coupled with the success of another. Near Marseille (France), this phenomenon began while two major thermal anomalies were reported. Different tolerances to temperature were demonstrated by both the species distribution ranges and laboratory experimentation. We provide a possible physiological explanation for populations of cold stenothermal species of endemic cave mysids being replaced by congeners of warmer affinities, with a high risk of extinction. We also found strong support for the view that Mediterranean marine biodiversity is already under the threat of global warming.

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