Climate change threatens coastal benthic communities on a global scale. However, the potential effects of ongoing warming on mesophotic temperate reefs at the community level remain poorly understood.
Forecasting temperature effects on ecological communities require a deep understanding of how temperature may influence the physiology of their different members. This study explored the ranges of thermal sensitivity among structurally, functionally and taxonomically different components of Mediterranean coralligenous assemblages. This was done using thermotolerance experiments with 10 species from different phyla and different structural roles.
The results of the study show species-specific contrasting responses to warming regardless of phyla or growth form, ranging from highly resistant species to sensitive species. Additionally, it is stated that the results on thermotolerance responses presented in this study are in agreement with previous field observations from mass mortality events linked to Mediterranean heatwaves.
Altogether, this study highlights the diversity of responses to warming in coralligenous outcrops and suggests the presence of potential winners and losers in the face of climate change.
Gómez-Gras et al. (2019) Response diversity in Mediterranean coralligenous assemblages facing climate change: Insights from a multispecific thermotolerance experiment. Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5045.