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Survival Skills for the Athropocene: What Marine Heatwaves and Other Ocean Surprises Can Teach Us About Living in a Warming World – Andrew Pershing
February 15, 2019 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Andrew J. Pershing
Chief Scientific Officer,
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Friday, February 15, 2019, 2:30 PM
Abstract: The community of species as well as human institutions and activities at a given location have been shaped by historical conditions (both mean and variability) at that location. Anthropogenic climate change is now adding strong trends on top of existing natural variability. These trends elevate the frequency of “surprises”—conditions that are unexpected based on recent history. The term “heatwave” was not used in an oceanographic context before 2013, but since then, there has been a proliferation of heatwaves around the globe. These events have disrupted ecosystems and human communities, but they have also prompted adaptive change. A simple model of human adaptation reveals that these surprises will increasingly challenge natural modes of adaptation that rely on historical experience. This work demonstrates increasing benefits for individuals and institutions from betting that trends will continue, but
this strategy represents a radical shift that will be difficult for many to make.