Harnessing positive species interactions as a tool against climate-driven loss of coastal biodiversity

by Fabio Bulleri, Britas Klemens Eriksson, Ana Queirós, Laura Airoldi, Francisco Arenas, Christos Arvanitidis, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Tasman P. Crowe, Dominique Davoult, Katell Guizien, Ljiljana Iveša, Stuart R. Jenkins, Richard Michalet, Celia Olabarria, Gabriele Procaccini, Ester A. Serrão, Martin Wahl, Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi

Habitat-forming species sustain biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in harsh environments through the amelioration of physical stress. Nonetheless, their role in shaping patterns of species distribution under future climate scenarios is generally overlooked. Focusing on coastal systems, we assess how habitat-forming species can influence the ability of stress-sensitive species to exhibit plastic responses, adapt to novel environmental conditions, or track suitable climates. Here, we argue that habitat-former populations could be managed as a nature-based solution against climate-driven loss of biodiversity. Drawing from different ecological and biological disciplines, we identify a series of actions to sustain the resilience of marine habitat-forming species to climate change, as well as their effectiveness and reliability in rescuing stress-sensitive species from increasingly adverse environmental conditions.

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