Socio-economic and management implications of range-shifting species in marine systems

Elizabeth M P Madin*, Natalie C. Ban, Zoë A. Doubleday, Thomas H. Holmes, Gretta T. Pecl, Franz Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is leading to a redistribution of marine species, altering ecosystem dynamics as species extend or shift their geographic ranges polewards with warming waters. In marine systems, range shifts have been observed in a wide diversity of species and ecosystems and are predicted to become more prevalent as environmental conditions continue to change. Large-scale shifts in the ranges of marine species will likely have dramatic socio-economic and management implications. Australia provides a unique setting in which to examine the range of consequences of climate-induced range shifts because it encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, spanning tropical to temperate systems, within a single nation and is home to global sea surface temperature change 'hotspots' (where range shifts are particularly likely to occur). We draw on global examples with a particular emphasis on Australian cases to evaluate these consequences. We show that in Australia, range shifts span a variety of ecosystem types, trophic levels, and perceived outcomes (i.e., negative versus positive). The effect(s) of range shifts on socio-economic change variables are rarely reviewed, yet have the potential to have positive and/or negative effects on economic activities, human health and ecosystem services. Even less information exists about potential management responses to range-shifting species. However, synthesis of these diverse examples provides some initial guidance for selecting effective adaptive response strategies and management tools in the face of continuing climate-mediated range shifts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


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