You are here: Home / Database / Indicators / Distribution shifts of marine species
(u'biodiversity_ind', u'marineINDICATOR', u'obs_scen_sea')
Original page


Distribution shifts of marine species


  • Increases in regional sea temperatures have triggered a major northwards expansion of warmer water plankton and a northwards retreat of colder water plankton in the North-east Atlantic. This northerly movement has amounted to about 10 ° latitude (1 100 km) over the past 40 years, and it seems to have accelerated since 2000.
  • Sub-tropical species are occurring with increasing frequency in Europe’s seas, and sub-Arctic species are receding northwards.
  • Wild fish stocks are responding to changing temperatures and food supply by changing their distribution. This can have impacts on those local communities that depend on those fish stocks.
  • Further changes in the distribution of marine species, including fish stocks, are expected with the projected climate change, but quantitative projections of these distribution changes are not widely available.

Reference information



CLIM015, North Sea, Northward movement, fish, plankton, sea temperature

Climate impacts

Extreme Temperatures


Observations and Scenarios, Adaptation Plans and Strategies


Biodiversity, Marine and Fisheries

Geographic characterization


Document Actions