Anticipated Effects of Climate Change on Coastal Upwelling Ecosystems

A. Bakun, B. A. Black, S. J. Bograd, M. García-Reyes, A. J. Miller, R. R. Rykaczewski, W. J. Sydeman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

291 Scopus citations


Ecosystem productivity in coastal ocean upwelling systems is threatened by climate change. Increases in spring and summer upwelling intensity, and associated increases in the rate of offshore advection, are expected. While this could counter effects of habitat warming, it could also lead to more frequent hypoxic events and lower densities of suitable-sized food particles for fish larvae. With upwelling intensification, ocean acidity will rise, affecting organisms with carbonate structures. Regardless of changes in upwelling, near-surface stratification, turbulent diffusion rates, source water origins, and perhaps thermocline depths associated with large-scale climate episodes (ENSO) maybe affected. Major impacts on pelagic fish resources appear unlikely unless couples with overfishing, although changes toward more subtropical community composition are likely. Marine mammals and seabirds that are tied to sparsely distributed nesting or resting grounds could experience difficulties in obtaining prey resources, or adaptively respond by moving to more favorable biogeographic provinces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Eastern boundary upwelling systems
  • Ecosystem effects
  • Hypoxia
  • Ocean acidity
  • Upwelling efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


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