The Risk for Novel and Disappearing Environmental Conditions in the Baltic Sea


Future climate biogeochemical projections indicate large changes in the ocean with environmental conditions not experienced at present referred to as novel, or may even disappear. These climate-induced changes will most likely affect species distribution via changes in growth, behavior, evolution, dispersal, and species interactions. However, the future risk of novel and disappearing environmental conditions in the ocean is poorly understood, in particular for compound effects of climate and nutrient management changes.

We map the compound risk of the occurrence of future novel and disappearing environmental conditions, analyze the outcome of climate and nutrient management scenarios for the world’s largest estuary, the Baltic Sea, and the potential consequences for three charismatic species. Overall, the future projections show, as expected, an increase in environmental novelty over time. The future nutrient reduction management that improves the eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea contributes to large novel and disappearing conditions.

We show the consequences of novel and disappearing environmental conditions for fundamental niches of three charismatic species under different scenarios. This first step toward comprehensively analyzing environmental novelty and disappearing conditions for a marine system illustrates the urgent need to include novelty and disappearing projection outputs in Earth System Models. Our results further illustrate that adaptive management is needed to account for the emergence of novelty related to the interplay of multiple drivers.

Overall, our analysis provides strong support for the expectation of novel ecological communities in marine systems, which may affect ecosystem services, and needs to be accounted for in sustainable future management plans of our oceans.


Link to centre authors: Blenckner, Thorsten, Niiranen, Susa
Publication info: Blenckner, T., Ammar, Y., Müller-Karulis, B., Niiranen, S., Arneborg, L., Li, Q.. 2021. The Risk for Novel and Disappearing Environmental Conditions in the Baltic Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science.


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