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Global warming causes the poleward shift of the trailing edges of marine ectotherm species distributions. In the semi-enclosed Mediterranean Sea, continental masses and oceanographic barriers do not allow natural connectivity with thermophilic species pools: as trailing edges retreat, a net diversity loss occurs. We quantify this loss on the Israeli shelf, among the warmest areas in the Mediterranean, by comparing current native molluscan richness with the historical one obtained from surficial death assemblages. We recorded only 12% and 5% of historically present native species on shallow subtidal soft and hard substrates, respectively. This is the largest climate-driven regional-scale diversity loss in the oceans documented to date. By contrast, assemblages in the intertidal, more tolerant to climatic extremes, and in the cooler mesophotic zone show approximately 50% of the historical native richness. Importantly, approximately 60% of the recorded shallow subtidal native species do not reach reproductive size, making the shallow shelf a demographic sink. We predict that, as climate warms, this native biodiversity collapse will intensify and expand geographically, counteracted only by Indo-Pacific species entering from the Suez Canal. These assemblages, shaped by climate warming and biological invasions, give rise to a ‘novel ecosystem’ whose restoration to historical baselines is notmore »
Abstract The rocky intertidal zone is a highly dynamic and thermally variable ecosystem, where the combined influences of solar radiation, air temperature and topography can lead to differences greater than 15°C over the scale of centimetres during aerial exposure at low tide. For most intertidal organisms this small-scale heterogeneity in microclimates can have enormous influences on survival and physiological performance. However, the potential ecological importance of environmental heterogeneity in determining ecological responses to climate change remains poorly understood. We present a novel framework for generating spatially explicit models of microclimate heterogeneity and patterns of thermal physiology among interacting organisms. We used drone photogrammetry to create a topographic map (digital elevation model) at a resolution of 2 × 2 cm from an intertidal site in Massachusetts, which was then fed into to a model of incident solar radiation based on sky view factor and solar position. These data were in turn used to drive a heat budget model that estimated hourly surface temperatures over the course of a year (2017). Body temperature layers were then converted to thermal performance layers for organisms, using thermal performance curves, creating ‘physiological landscapes’ that display spatially and temporally explicit patterns of ‘microrefugia’. Our framework shows how non-linear interactionsmore »