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Search for marine facts about climate impacts

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Scientists and marine managers will meet in Brisbane this week to evaluate and prepare for future impacts of climate change on Australia’s marine ecosystems.

  • 11 November 2007

The symposium, In Hot Water, will look at ways to accelerate Australia’s capacity to assess, predict and adapt to the impacts of climate change on coastal marine life, fisheries and marine ecosystems.

CSIRO’s Dr Anthony Richardson says that science is starting from scratch when it comes to understanding climate change impacts on marine ecosystems in the Australian region.

“Almost all the recorded significant changes linked to warming temperatures are from the Northern Hemisphere terrestrial systems, with very few from marine systems and almost none from Australia,” he says.

“You can’t translate the impacts of change on land to what might happen to the coasts and oceans because there is greater interconnectivity in marine systems. We have also noted that the timing of life cycle events in marine groups is changing faster than animals and plants on land.”

“Although we could find few reported changes in life cycles or species abundance we feel this is more likely to be a consequence of the lack of long term monitoring rather than evidence of no change,”
 Dr Richardson says.

Scientists from the Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship have recently completed reviews for the Australian Greenhouse Office on observed and potential future effects of climate change on fisheries and marine biodiversity.

“Although we could find few reported changes in life cycles or species abundance we feel this is more likely to be a consequence of the lack of long term monitoring rather than evidence of no change,” Dr Richardson says.

Symposium co-convenor, Dr Alistair Hobday, says the event has been in planning for a year with the objective of demonstrating the range of science tools now with application in studying the marine environment.
Speakers are from Australia, UK, US, France and Spain. Participants include scientists working in temperate, tropical and polar ocean environments, as well as planners and managers from Federal and State marine agencies.

‘In Hot Water’ is part of CSIRO’s Cutting Edge Science symposia and is also sponsored by the Australian Greenhouse Office.

All delegates have agreed to make the symposium carbon neutral, with offsets to cover carbon emissions.

National Research Flagships

CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities. The nine Flagships form multidisciplinary teams with industry and the research community to deliver impact and benefits for Australia.

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