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Journal of Thermal Biology
Volume 85, 2019, 102403

Impact of warming on biofouling communities in the northern Persian Gulf

Maral Khosravia,b, Ali Nasrolahia, Mohammad Reza Shokria, Sergey Dobretsovc,d, Christian Panschb

Department of Aquatic Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shahid Beheshti University, G. C., Evin, Tehran, 1983969411, Iran.

Abstract

While the impact of ocean warming on single species is well described, the impact on marine biofouling communities is not well understood. Effluents of power plants have higher temperatures and can be used as natural large-scale test sites to investigate warming effects on marine ecosystems. In the present study, we evaluated the impact of elevated temperatures in the vicinity of a power plant on macro-biofouling communities in the northern coast of the Persian Gulf. The impact site was on average 2 °C warmer than the control site. Our results demonstrate a significantly different structure and composition of biofouling communities between control and impact sites. Warming led to a 1.5-fold increase in the mean coverage of biofouling communities and slightly decreased functional and species richness. Our results indicated that future warming will likely increase biofouling pressure, while decreasing diversity of communities, particularly in habitats where organisms exist at their upper tolerance limits of temperature.

Keywords: Biofouling assemblages, Coverage, Climate change. Global warming, Persian Gulf.

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