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As Climate Change Forces Marine Life To Relocate, Kelp Forests Suffer

As a result of climate change, warm-water fish species are shifting their range and invading temperate areas. Our results show that over-grazing by these fish can have a profound impact, leading to kelp deforestation and barren reefs. This is the first study demonstrating that the effects of warming in kelp forests are two-fold: higher temperatures not only have a direct impact on seaweeds, they also have an indirect impact by increasing the appetite of fish consumers, which can devour these seaweeds to the point of completely denuding the ocean floor. Increases in the number of plant-eating fish because of warming poses a significant threat to kelp-dependent ecosystems both in Australia and around the globe ((Click on title for full story.)