Possible effects of global environmental changes on Antarctic benthos: a synthesis across five major taxa

Jeroen Ingels*, Ann Vanreusel, Angelika Brandt, Ana I Catarino, Bruno David, Chantal de Ridder, Philippe Dubois, Andrew J. Gooday, Patrick Martin, Francesca Pasotti, Henri Robert

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    80 Citations (Scopus)


    Because of the unique conditions that exist around the Antarctic continent, Southern Ocean (SO) ecosystems are very susceptible to the growing impact of global climate change and other anthropogenic influences. Consequently, there is an urgent need to understand how SO marine life will cope with expected future changes in the environment. Studies of Antarctic organisms have shown that individual species and higher taxa display different degrees of sensitivity to environmental shifts, making it difficult to predict overall community or ecosystem responses. This emphasizes the need for an improved understanding of the Antarctic benthic ecosystemresponse to global climate change using amultitaxon approach with consideration of different levels of biological organization.Here, we provide a synthesis of the ability of five important Antarctic benthic taxa (Foraminifera, Nematoda, Amphipoda, Isopoda, and Echinoidea) to cope with changes in the environment (temperature, pH, ice cover, ice scouring, food quantity, and quality) that are linked to climatic changes. Responses from individual to the taxon-specific community level to these drivers will vary with taxon but will include local species extinctions, invasions ofwarmer-water species, shifts in diversity, dominance, and trophic group composition, all with likely consequences for ecosystemfunctioning. Limitations in our current knowledge and understanding of climate change effects on the different levels are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)453-485
    Number of pages33
    JournalEcology and Evolution
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


    • Amphipoda
    • Echinoidea
    • Foraminifera
    • Global climate change
    • Isopoda
    • Nematoda
    • Southern ocean
    • Zoobenthos

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Ecology
    • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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