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Range edges of North American marine species are tracking temperature over decades
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  • Alexa Fredston,
  • Malin Pinsky,
  • Rebecca Selden,
  • Cody Szuwalski,
  • James Thorson,
  • Benjamin Halpern,
  • Steve Gaines
Alexa Fredston
University of California Santa Barbara
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Malin Pinsky
Rutgers University
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Rebecca Selden
Wellesley College
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Cody Szuwalski
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
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James Thorson
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
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Benjamin Halpern
University of California Santa Barbara
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Steve Gaines
University of California Santa Barbara
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Abstract

Understanding range edges is key to addressing fundamental biogeographic questions about abiotic and biotic drivers of species distributions. Range edges are where colonization and extirpation happen, so their dynamics are also important for natural resource management and conservation. We quantified positions for 153 range edges of marine fishes and invertebrates from three US continental shelf regions using decades of survey data and a spatiotemporal model to account for changes in survey design. We analyzed whether range edges maintained their edge thermal niches—temperature extremes at the range edge—over time. Most range edges (86%) maintained either cold or warm temperature extremes; 73% maintained both. However, the substantial fraction of range edges that altered their thermal niche underscore the multiplicity of relevant drivers. This study suggests that temperate marine species largely maintained their edge thermal niches during rapid change and provides a blueprint for testing temperature tracking of species range edges.

Peer review status:Published

24 Mar 2021Published in Global Change Biology. 10.1111/gcb.15614