Cross-basin and cross-taxa patterns of marine community tropicalization and deborealization in warming European seas

Guillem Chust, Ernesto Villarino, Matthew McLean, Nova Mieszkowska, Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi, Fabio Bulleri, Chiara Ravaglioli, Angel Borja, Iñigo Muxika, José A. Fernandes-Salvador, Leire Ibaibarriaga, Ainhize Uriarte, Marta Revilla, Fernando Villate, Arantza Iriarte, Ibon Uriarte, Soultana Zervoudaki, Jacob Carstensen, Paul J. Somerfield, Ana M. QueirósAndrea J. McEvoy, Arnaud Auber, Manuel Hidalgo, Marta Coll, Joaquim Garrabou, Daniel Gómez-Gras, Cristina Linares, Francisco Ramírez, Núria Margarit, Mario Lepage, Chloé Dambrine, Jérémy Lobry, Myron A. Peck, Paula de la Barra, Anieke van Leeuwen, Gil Rilov, Erez Yeruham, Anik Brind’Amour, Martin Lindegren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ocean warming and acidification, decreases in dissolved oxygen concentrations, and changes in primary production are causing an unprecedented global redistribution of marine life. The identification of underlying ecological processes underpinning marine species turnover, particularly the prevalence of increases of warm-water species or declines of cold-water species, has been recently debated in the context of ocean warming. Here, we track changes in the mean thermal affinity of marine communities across European seas by calculating the Community Temperature Index for 65 biodiversity time series collected over four decades and containing 1,817 species from different communities (zooplankton, coastal benthos, pelagic and demersal invertebrates and fish). We show that most communities and sites have clearly responded to ongoing ocean warming via abundance increases of warm-water species (tropicalization, 54%) and decreases of cold-water species (deborealization, 18%). Tropicalization dominated Atlantic sites compared to semi-enclosed basins such as the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, probably due to physical barrier constraints to connectivity and species colonization. Semi-enclosed basins appeared to be particularly vulnerable to ocean warming, experiencing the fastest rates of warming and biodiversity loss through deborealization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2126
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-basin and cross-taxa patterns of marine community tropicalization and deborealization in warming European seas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this