Climate change is warming the world's oceans. As a result, some marine animals are moving into new zip codes. Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has long been a northern boundary for many mid-Atlantic species. These warm-water species have been kept out of the out the Canadian-chilled waters north of Cape Cod (the Gulf of Maine). Recently, however, species typically associated with the mid-Atlantic such as Chesapeake Bay are now found in New England. For instance, the iconic blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, has been found as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada (Johnson, 2015). The Atlantic marsh fiddler crab, Uca pugnax, is now as far north as New Hampshire (Johnson, 2014).
Without question marine species will continue to expand or shift poleward as the planet continues to warm. But how will these species affect the coastal ecosystems they move into? We are not only tracking the movements of these species but also conducting experiments to understand how the new neighbors might affect the Gulf of Maine neighborhood.