How resilient are sharks to climate change, and how adaptive are communities and businesses that rely on them as a resource?
How resilient are sharks to climate change, and how adaptive are communities and businesses that rely on them as a resource?

Overview

Climate change is having, and will continue to have, an enormously varied set of impacts on the world’s oceans. Overall, we can expect several key changes on the oceans (from IPCC 2013) which include:

1. A further 2.6 – 4.8 °C warming by 2100

2. A further decrease in pH by 0.4 units by 2100

3. Decreases in dissolved oxygen, and more ‘dead spots’ of very low oxygen

4. Changes in salinity depending on location (increases with warming, but can also decrease owing to other oceanographic factors)

Scientific Publication:

Skubel RA, Kirtman BP, Fallows C, Hammerschlag N (2018). Patterns of long-term climate variability and predation rates by a marine apex predator, the white shark Carcharodon carcharias. Marine Ecology Progress Series 587:129-139.

Figure: A year-long migration of a female tiger shark beginning in the Bahamas, travelling as far north as the state of Massachusetts. Point colors show water temperature sensed by the shark-borne satellite tag.(Figure via Rachel Skubel)

SRC In Focus

Understanding the relationship between sharks and water temperature is critical for predicting changes in their habitat.
We are investigating the capacity of tiger and great hammerhead sharks to withstand increased water temperatures.