MARINE CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT DEVELOPMENT, USES, AND LIMITATIONS AS A TOOL FOR CLIMATE ADAPTATION
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Resource managers need tools to prepare for biological changes resulting from climate change. Here, I present a novel marine Vulnerability to Projected Warming Assessment (VPWA) model as a climate adaptation tool to rank local species by the risk imposed to their future distribution and abundance by projected regional warming. This VPWA builds on earlier models; it includes a species distribution model and thermal window analyses to project changes in regionally available thermal habitat at multiple life stages, provides refined vulnerability ranks, and weights model factors by importance. I assess 33 fish and invertebrate species on the Scotian Shelf under two warming scenarios. At smaller spatial scales, I evaluate populations of seven of these species. Identification of species/populations with high vulnerability scores may help managers prioritize resources and identify knowledge gaps. This tool can and should be improved to include pH, oxygen, stratification, and ecosystem-related concerns as more data become available.