Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

North Sea fauna changing

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Oceans
Three white swans flying across the North Sea. Three white swans flying across the North Sea. Roundstripe, Shutterstock
01 Aug
2014
Biological communities in the North Sea have undergone significant changes since the turn of the millennium, according to long-term studies carried out by a team of German scientists

For more than 20 years, a team led by Michael Türkay of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt has been collecting samples from about 40 locations at the bottom of the central North Sea at the same time each year. Their results indicate that as water temperatures have warmed, southern species are increasingly expanding northward.

‘Our results clearly indicate that a regime change began in the North Sea in 2000, and that the fauna’s composition has been undergoing massive changes from then on,’ said Türkay. ‘Warm-water species increasingly spread north and east, thus blurring the formerly stable boundaries between different faunal regions.’

Long-term studies in the Helgoland Trench, which is found to the south of the eponymous North Sea island in the German Bight confirm this trend. Since 2000, the ratio of warm-water species there has steadily increased and is becoming more stable, with species once found only sporadically now becoming dominant elements of the marine community. ‘The crabs that we studied are like living measuring instruments – their occurrence and expansion are reactions to a changing environment,’ Türkay said.

This story was published in the August 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

Julysub 2020

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

geo line break v3

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Wildlife

Increasing reports of seized jaguar fangs and skin suggest that…

Geophoto

Forced isolation has given many of us the chance to…

Oceans

A fifth of the ocean floor has now been mapped,…

Wildlife

Four ex-circus lions discovered in France are due to be…

Oceans

A roundup of some of the top discussions from the…

Energy

The agave plant, used to make Tequila, has proven itself…

Climate

Concerns about the ozone hole have diminished as levels of…

Wildlife

In the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Munu – a…

Geophoto

Photography competition, Earth Photo, returns for the third year with…

Oceans

A new study reveals the process behind the strange phenomenon…

Wildlife

Hunting is a topic that attracts polarised viewpoints. But as…

Oceans

A compilation of 50-years worth of data on human activity…

Wildlife

From the US to the Mediterranean, herds of goats are…

Wildlife

Meet the 2020 Whitley Award winners

Wildlife

Protecting the most famous members of the animal kingdom may…

Climate

With Milan announcing an ambitious new plan to reduce air…