Multi-decadal Responses of Coastal Ecosystems to Climate Change, Pollution and Non-indigenous Species in the Western and Mid-English Channel
Authors: Herbert, R.J.H., Hall, A., Firth, L., Hawkins, S., Mieszkowska, N., Corbeau, G., Desroy,, N. and Godet, L.
Editors: Humphreys, J. and Sally, L.
For over a century, the English Channel (La Manche) has been a strategic location for observation and measurement of changes in marine biodiversity and ecosystems. Straddling cold and warm temperate biogeographic provinces, the Channel is particularly sensitive to variable weather and climate patterns caused by Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation cycles, which have a major influence on sea and air temperatures and wave energy influencing the whole ecosystem. Superimposed on these natural cycles is human-induced global warming which, combined with pollution and growth in international trade and waterborne traffic, has resulted in significant changes in invertebrate assemblages and the arrival of many non-indigenous species. In the context of past, present and future environmental impacts, we review broad-scale patterns in distribution of important coastal functional indicators over this period, and undertake a horizon-scanning approach to forecast how future species assemblages might influence the functioning of coastal ecosystems in the Channel and north-east Atlantic.