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Cold Comfort for Cold-Loving Creatures

UK - Britain's cold-water marine life may have nowhere to go as it heads northwards to escape the effects of climate change.

Research carried out by MBA scientists on rocky shores between Stavanger and Bergen in Norway has shown that space for migrating cold-water shoreline plants and animals is extremely limited, adding to the pressures they already face from warming seas.


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"Our fieldwork has highlighted a potential loss of biodiversity as cold-water species from Britain and France will have nowhere to go."
Dr Nova Mieskowska

The UK's huge tidal ranges and gently sloping shores provide vast intertidal areas for specialized shoreline creatures like seaweed and molluscs. This contrasts with the narrow strip of intertidal habitat produced by the small tidal ranges and steep rocky shores in Norway - the refuge for northern Europe's retreating cold-water species.

Dr Nova Mieskowska said, "The diversity of intertidal life is already low in this part of Norway and competition for space will be intense as our cold-water species are pushed northwards. Our fieldwork has highlighted a potential loss of biodiversity as cold-water species from Britain and France will have nowhere to go".

The flip side of this is that warm-water species moving into UK waters will find plenty of habitat to occupy as they 'chase' retreating cold-water species.

The MBA has been tracking shoreline species in NW Europe for over 60 years.

the Fish Site Editor

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