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Global warming and artificial shorelines reshape seashore biogeography

Cite this dataset

Wang, Wei et al. (2019). Global warming and artificial shorelines reshape seashore biogeography [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim: Rapid anthropogenic warming coupled with changes in land use is altering the distributions of species, with consequences for ecosystem functioning and services. It is crucial to evaluate species range shifts based on understanding of the interaction of temperature with non-climatic factors such as habitat availability and dispersal potential. Here, we aim to investigate roles of environment temperature, habitat availability and population connectivity on the distributions of hard-shore intertidal animals. We further examine potential roles of extensive artificial seawall construction in enabling poleward expansion of species in China, thus reshaping coastal biogeography.

Location: Chinese coast.

Time period: 2013-2017.

Major taxa studied: Intertidal invertebrates.

Methods: We took an integrative approach encompassing distributional ecology, thermal physiology, molecular genetics, heat budget modeling and larval dispersal, to elucidate how interacting multiple drivers, including temperature, habitat availability and larval dispersal, determine distributions of hard-shore invertebrates, focusing on what sets their range edges at a boundary between biogeographic provinces.

Results: Our results untangle the complex interactions of global climate change with the impacts of regional scale coastal development. Temperature, larval transport and habitat availability are the major proximate factors controlling the range limits of coastal marine species. The artificial shorelines provide suitable habitats for hard-shore species on the Yangtze River Delta, and minimum temperature at winter is an important factor setting the new northern range limit of these hard-shore species along the Chinese coast.

Main conclusions: In the face of global warming and global sprawl of marine hard infrastructure, species distributions, community structures and biogeographic patterns are experiencing dramatic changes. The combined influence of multiple human stressors including climate change and artificial shoreline can be evaluated by using a multidisciplinary framework, including ecological distribution, physiological sensitivity of species to these stressors, and the role of dispersal in maintaining population connectivity.