A 100 years from now, all the species in many marine communities will be lost and replaced by new species able to tolerate warmer conditions, leading to a redistribution of sea life across the globe. So says Dr Amanda Bates, one of the authors of new report detailing which marine communities are most vulnerable to global warming.

Using data from the Reef Life Survey, researchers measured the geographical and thermal distributions of 2,695 shallow reef fish and 1,225 invertebrates from Greenland to Australia to quantify the thermal bias for communities around the world.

They found that locations where the average summer sea surface temperature is presently 24 °C, such as the Gulf of Thailand, southwestern Caribbean and Three Kings-North Cape in New Zealand, are the most vulnerable to changing community biodiversity. This is because most of the species making up these communities are already living near the edge of their temperature distribution.

The Reef Life Survey is a very useful resource, and anyone can download data from there. Go to http://reeflifesurvey.imas.utas.edu.au/portal/home and choose a data collection: reef fish or invertebrates for example. Now choose the country or sea in which you are interested. Egypt for example. You can then download the data for that area. You can also draw an outline on a map to define an area of interest.

Reef Life Survey Data
Reef Life Survey Data from Egypt

Journal reference: Rick D. Stuart-Smith, Graham J. Edgar, Neville S. Barrett, Stuart J. Kininmonth & Amanda E. Bates. Nature (2015).