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BIOGEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS, ABUNDANCES, AND VULNERABILITIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE OF BRACHYURAN AND LITHODID CRABS FROM THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA TO THE BEAUFORT SEA
Folger, C., H. Lee, K. Marko, D. Reusser, AND R. Graham. BIOGEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS, ABUNDANCES, AND VULNERABILITIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE OF BRACHYURAN AND LITHODID CRABS FROM THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA TO THE BEAUFORT SEA. Presented at Pacific Estuarine Research Society, Newport, OR, April 03 - 05, 2014.
As part of an EPA/USGS project to predict the relative vulnerability of near-coastal species to climate change we analyzed the biogeographic and abundance patterns of the brachyuran or ‘True’ crabs (n=368) and lithodid or ‘King’ crabs (n=20) that are found in the twelve MEOW (“Marine Ecosystems of the World”) ecoregions between the Gulf of California (GOC) and Beaufort Sea at depths <200 m. To assess the vulnerability of each species we used species trait data queried from the “Coastal Biogeographic Risk Analysis Tool” (CBRAT), a web-based ecoinformatics tool. Species richness per ecoregion increases steadily from the Beaufort (n=3) to Southern California (n=138) and more than doubles between the Magdalena and the GOC ecoregions (138 and 298 species respectively). The Oregonian Ecoregion has 51 species. We calculated relative abundance values by analyzing extensive data sets augmented by expert opinion; allowing us to assign 78% of crab species to at least a Rare, Moderate or Abundant classification. The degree of relative climate vulnerably generally follows a south to north pattern with more species rated ‘highly vulnerable’ in the southern warm temperate ecoregions and ‘None Known/Low’ in the northern Arctic ecoregions. Out of the 388 total crab species 170 were assigned a ‘high’ ranking for climate vulnerability in one or more ecoregions. Traits such as commensalism, intertidal habitat, and endemicity were the three most determinant factors contributing to a high vulnerability rating. The pinnotherid crabs are the family at greatest risk largely because of their symbiotic strategy and generally rare abundances.
For management to respond in a scientifically-sound fashion to climate change, it is critical to have a basic knowledge of what species and habitats are at the greatest risk and what climate stressors are the “biggest problem” by habitat type. Our approach is to base predictions on the natural history and distributional attributes of species. This 'trait-based' approach allows us to predict relative climate vulnerabilities from species’ sensitivities and potential exposures.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH