Heat tolerance of marine ectotherms in a warming Antarctica

Andrés N. Molina, José M. Pulgar, Enrico L. Rezende, Mauricio J. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Global warming is affecting the Antarctic continent in complex ways. Because Antarctic organisms are specialized to living in the cold, they are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, although quantitative analyses of this issue are currently lacking. Here we compiled a total of 184 estimates of heat tolerance belonging to 39 marine species and quantified how survival is affected concomitantly by the intensity and duration of thermal stress. Species exhibit thermal limits displaced toward colder temperatures, with contrasting strategies between arthropods and fish that exhibit low tolerance to acute heat challenges, and brachiopods, echinoderms, and molluscs that tend to be more sensitive to chronic exposure. These differences might be associated with mobility. A dynamic mortality model suggests that Antarctic organisms already encounter temperatures that might be physiologically stressful and indicate that these ecological communities are indeed vulnerable to ongoing rising temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • climate change
  • critical thermal limits
  • heat stress
  • heat tolerance
  • temperature mortality
  • thermal tolerance landscape
  • thermal-death time curves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • General Environmental Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Heat tolerance of marine ectotherms in a warming Antarctica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this