1°C warming increases spatial competition frequency and complexity in Antarctic marine macrofauna
Environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica have varied little for >5 million years but are now changing. Here we investigated how warming affects competition for space. Little considered in the polar regions, this is a critical component of biodiversity response. Change in competition in response to environment forcing might be detectable earlier than individual species presence/absence or performance measures (e.g. growth). Examination of fauna on artificial substrata in Antarctica’s shallows at ambient or warmed temperature found that, mid-century predicted 1°C warming (throughout the year or just summer-only), increased the probability of individuals encountering spatial competition, as well as density and complexity of such interactions. 2°C, late century predicted warming, increased variance in the probability and density of competition, but overall, competition did not significantly differ from ambient (control) levels. In summary only 1°C warming increased probability, density and complexity of spatial competition, which seems to be summer-only driven.
Authors: Barnes, D.K.A. ORCID record for D.K.A. Barnes, Ashton, G.V., Morley, S.A. ORCID record for S.A. Morley, Peck, L.S. ORCID record for L.S. Peck