The MarClim project was a four year multi-partner funded project created to investigate the effects of climatic warming on marine biodiversity. In particular the project aimed to use key intertidal species, whose abundances had been shown to fluctuate with changes in climatic conditions, as indicators of changes occurring in the intertidal and offshore. The project used historic time series data, from the 1950s onwards, and contemporary data to provide evidence of changes in the abundance, range and population structure of intertidal species and relate these changes to recent rapid climatic warming. In particular quantitative counts of barnacles, limpets and trochids were made as well as semi-quantitative surveys of up to 56 intertidal taxa. Historic and contemporary data informed experiments to understand the mechanisms behind these changes and models were created to predict future species ranges and abundances. To view the key findings and conclusions of the MarClim project (link to findings, conclusions and deliverables).
The MarClim project has provided strong evidence that recent rapid climate change has resulted in changes in the abundance, population structure and biogeographic ranges of a number of intertidal indicator species, mirroring changes offshore. Experiments have shown that many of the changes in southern/lusitanian species have occurred as a result of increased reproductive output and juvenile survival in response to increased warming. In the case of some northern/boreal species it would appear that decreases in abundance may be linked to a decrease in their reproductive output. Evidence suggests that species range expansion in response to climatic warming is occurring quicker in marine systems (plankton, fish as well as intertidal species) than terrestrial systems.
The findings of the MarClim project have been disseminated to a wider audience through peer reviewed papers and semi-popular articles and through seminars and presentations to the wider scientific community, policymakers, stakeholders and the general public.
Data collated and collected by the MarClim project has been made available to a wider audience via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway (www.searchnbn.net) or by contacting the Marine Environmental Change Network (MECN) Co-ordinator (www.mba.ac.uk/MECN).