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Forecasting climate change impacts on marine communities of Jurien Bay, Western Australia

Lozano-Montes, H.M., Loneragan, N. and Babcock, R. (2009) Forecasting climate change impacts on marine communities of Jurien Bay, Western Australia. In: Greenhouse 2009, 23 - 26 March, Perth, Western Australia.


We present the case study of a whole-ecosystem model for the Jurien Bay Marine Park in temperate Western Australia, as an example of the potential responses of marine ecosystems in Western Australia to climate change, i.e. ocean warming. The mass balanced model had 80 functional groups (more than 200 species), included data from 14 fishing gears and was fitted/calibrated with data on estimates of biomass for western rock lobster. The effect of climate change on the food web was evaluated through downscaling changes in primary productivity as predicted by a climate model (CSIRO Mk 3.5). ECOSIM simulations were carried out as the first attempt to understand how climate change will affect small marine ecosystems, a necessary step before predictions on global warming projections can be made.

Results from the model included assessing the impact of modified primary production (represented by Ecklonia, seagrass, macroalgae and phytoplankton in the model) over 100 years on both the secondary production and fisheries of Jurien Bay. In particular, we were interested in evaluating the trends and direction of changes in the abundance of western rock lobster (Panulirus cygnus), the most valuable single species fishery in Australia. The key to predicting ecosystem effects of future climate change is understanding the way in which components of the ecosystem interact.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
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