A new computer model is able to accurately 'predict' past large-scale biological changes, and put them into a global context in a way that hasn't been possible before. Grégory Beaugrand introduces us to the macroscopic approach to ocean observation and its potential to provide early warnings of disruptive biological shifts.
The global ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat resulting from man-made increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases. Yet, only a tiny fraction of the oceans are currently monitored for the effects of climate change, which limits our capability to predict its implications for marine biodiversity. Using a new global numerical model originating from the MacroEcological Theory on the Arrangement of Life (METAL), a multidisciplinary study involving MBA scientists predicts that the increase in heat content will lead to major biological changes in the sea. In particular, our model identifies unusual alterations in marine life after 2014 in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic oceans. Our findings suggest ...

Grégory Beaugrand (gregory.beaugrand@log.cnrs.fr) Senior researcher, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laboratoire d'Océanologie et de Géosciences. 
MBA Associate Researcher.

Figure 2. Results from the global model for time periods 2005-2009 (top) and 2010-2014 (bottom). The red colours denote substantial biological shifts and the yellow colours indicate minor changes. No colour denotes an absence of biological shifts. 

This article first appeared in issue 13 of The Marine Biologist magazine. To access this article, receive copies of The Marine Biologist magazine and enjoy a host of other benefits, join the MBA today.


Gregory Beaugrand