Part of the book: Biodiversity Loss in a Changing Planet
Using search programs for a long-term SCUBA taxonomic database (3865 dives) for Strait of Georgia seabed sites, 1077 taxa were screened to select rare or highly abundant taxa and to present the data according to climate regime categories. Ocean Niño Index (ONI) climate regime shifts are defined here as the year of the end of the first La Niña closely paired with an El Niño by ≤2 months separation, where anomalies for both El Niño and La Niña exceed 1.0 on the ONI scale. For both rare and abundant taxa, patterns of increased or decreased abundance frequently correspond to years defining climate regimes. Cascading effects of climate regime shifts may occur via changes in community composition. The sea star wasting disease (SSWD) syndrome eliminated urchin predators so that urchins have decreased abundance of a kelp species that is nursery habitat for spot prawns. We conclude that 2011 was a climate regime shift. This 2011 regime shift coincided with loss of 11 seabed species in the Strait of Georgia, none of them at their southern range extreme.
Part of the book: Selected Studies in Biodiversity