Climate change is severely modifying the structure and function of marine and coastal ecosystems worldwide. In the Mediterranean Sea the ongoing warming have been linked to increased mass mortality events of many different species and distribution shifts in a great variety of species both native and introduced ones (including fishes, crustaceans and echinoderms). Impacts of mass mortalities were particularly strong affecting large number of species including corals and other macroinvertebrates and geographical scales tens to thousands of kilometers of coastline. Since the observation in 1999 of an unprecedented mass mortality event in the NW Mediterranean I decided to focus my research to disentangle the factors and processes behind the responses of rocky benthic biota. The final goal is promoting the resilience face to climate change. Focusing in temperate corals species, which as in coral reefs are key habitat forming organisms in the Mediterranean habitats, I will present the observed trends in thermal stress, the impacts and the consequences of MMEs. Finally, I will discuss the future potential tropicalization configurations of Mediterranean habitats under the climate change.
Dr. Joaquim Garrabou is a senior researcher at Institute of Marine Sciences from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in Barcelona (Spain). Prior to this, he was a researcher at the Centre d’Oceanologie de Marseille (France), which is associated with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He is currently the coordinator of the Marine Biodiversity Conservation Group MedRecover (www.medrecover.org). Dr. Joaquim Garrabou is applying a multidisciplinary approach to the study of climate change effects in the conservation of Mediterranean marine biodiversity. The ultimate objective of his research is to enhance science based management strategies to inform adaptation plans of coastal areas as well as the sustainable use of marine resources.
Institut de Ciències del Mar-CSIC