Responses of marine trophic levels to the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming

Nan Hu, Paul E. Bourdeau, Johan Hollander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine organisms are simultaneously exposed to anthropogenic stressors associated with ocean acidification and ocean warming, with expected interactive effects. Species from different trophic levels with dissimilar characteristics and evolutionary histories are likely to respond differently. Here, we perform a meta-analysis of controlled experiments including both ocean acidification and ocean warming factors to investigate single and interactive effects of these stressors on marine species. Contrary to expectations, we find that synergistic interactions are less common (16%) than additive (40%) and antagonistic (44%) interactions overall and their proportion decreases with increasing trophic level. Predators are the most tolerant trophic level to both individual and combined effects. For interactive effects, calcifying and non-calcifying species show similar patterns. We also identify climate region-specific patterns, with interactive effects ranging from synergistic in temperate regions to compensatory in subtropical regions, to positive in tropical regions. Our findings improve understanding of how ocean warming, and acidification affect marine trophic levels and highlight the need for deeper consideration of multiple stressors in conservation efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3400
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Apr

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


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