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10-Apr-2019 13:58

In marine systems, poleward shifts of many tropical species within the cnidarians, fishes, molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans have been attributed to climate change [2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12].

Additionally, behaviours such as breeding and migration are expected to respond to climate change [13].

Hence there is growing concern for the future of Australia’s temperate marine biodiversity.

Here we examine the diversity and abundance of marine flora and fauna at two reefs near Perth’s metropolitan area—Minden Reef and Roe Reef.

(Humboldt or Jumbo squid) was rarely observed beyond San Diego a decade ago, but now has been observed as far north as Alaska [31].

This range shift has been attributed to climate change and an increase in areas referred to as “dead zones”, which the squid are able to exploit due to low oxygen tolerance.

Although Australian cool waters have lower species diversity than northern tropical waters, they harbor much higher proportions of endemic species.

The south-west region of Western Australia (WA) is part of the southern temperate faunal province, a region extending across the entire southern coast of Australia and into southern New South Wales, and includes Tasmania and New Zealand [17].

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In contrast to the east coast of Australia, where a similar expanse of coastline is split across three separate States (Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria), potentially complicating effective monitoring due to the need for coordination among jurisdictions, in WA marine resource monitoring and management efforts are coordinated by multiple partner agencies within a single jurisdiction.

Attrition of taxonomic diversity has already been observed in association with the poleward expansion of the barren-forming sea urchin, from NSW southward to eastern Tasmania [3], where a minimum of 150 taxa associated with macroalgal beds are estimated to have been lost [24].