Commentary on Payne et al. article assessing socio-ecological climate risks for European fisheries is available now in PNAS.

(A) Climate risk assessments at finer spatial scales (Right) can reveal heterogeneity and substantially more extreme risks for particular regions or groups that would not be visible in coarse assessments (Left). (B) Climate risk can be defined as the intersection of high climate hazards, high exposure to those hazards, and high vulnerability (i.e., low capacity for adapting to climate hazards). Fishing boat by Martin LeBreton from the Noun Project, which is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Malin Pinsky’s commentary on recent work in PNAS by Payne et al. (read full article here) highlights the paper’s contributions on the less visible vulnerabilities embedded within European fisheries. These fisheries have been overlooked from a climate risk perspective because they are less critical to the regional economy and food supply chain than fisheries of other world regions. Conducting fine-scale climate risk assessments (below the national level), Payne et al. use qualitative approaches to index exposure, hazard, and vulnerability. Their work documents that certain communities and certain fleets have greater exposure to risk than course-scale national data would suggest. The analysis reveals highly uneven geographic patterns of vulnerability apparently driven both by ecological and human social factors. A key recommendation from Payne et al. , according to Pinsky, is that climate risk can be reduced for many fisheries through greater diversification across a wider variety of target species. 

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McLean et al. study on shifts in thermal affinity of marine communities is available in the November 8 issue of Current Biology.

Maps showing the rate of change in SST and CTI along with differences in the strength of the underlying processes. A and B: Rate of change in SST (A) and CTI (B) across the 558 grid cells for the period 1990– 2015. C and D: Differences in the strength of tropicalization and deborealization in grid cells where CTI increased (C), and differences in the strength of borealization and detropicalization in grid cells where CTI decreased (D).

Matthew McLean collaborated with nine other researchers across Europe and North America, including Malin Pinsky, to coauthor this study on community change in marine environments. Their report appears in the November 8 issue of Current Biology. Although past studies have documented extensive shifts in community temperature index (CTI), this study uniquely decomposes CTI into four underlying processes at a multi-continental scale (tropicalization—increasing abundance of warm-affinity species; deborealization—decreasing abundance of cold-affinity speciesd; borealization—increasing abundance of cold-affinity species; detropicalization—decreasing abundance of warm-affinity species). Using long-term monitoring of marine fishes across the Northern Hemisphere, McLean et al. show that one-third of increases in mean thermal affinity were primarily due to decreases in cold-affinity species. Cold-affinity decreases were stronger closer to human population centers; warm-affinity increases were stronger in warmer areas. These findings will help in anticipating future changes in biodiversity under climate change and implementing adapted management strategies.

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