NOAA Co-Sponsors Conference on Species DistributionSOTM logo

Plants and animals all over the world are shifting wherethey live in response to warming temperatures. Climate changes are affecting the range and distribution of species on land and at sea. And these changes have significant implications for people, communities and businesses including fisheries and agriculture. Information is needed about the mechanisms, impacts and best responses to those changes. For example, many fish species are moving poleward and to deeper depths in response to warming oceans, but little is known about the limits of these shifts, the impacts on fisheries, and the best approaches to fisheries management with redistribution of fish stocks.

To better understand these issues, NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology is co-sponsoring the first major international conference, Species on the Move, dedicated to this mission. The conference, convening in Hobart, Australia from February 9-12, will bring together scientists and managers from multiple disciplines to expand understanding about the mechanisms, implications and responses to climate-related shifts in species distributions. The Species on the Move conference will also support a “mentor matching” session that connects early career scientists with more experienced scientists to help promote careers in the field.

Ocean Adapt

Roger Griffis, the NOAA Fisheries Climate Change Coordinator, will be discussing OceanAdapt, a web-based tool designed to assist managers, scientists, fishermen, and the public in tracking shifts in the distribution of marine fish and invertebrates in the U.S. marine ecosystems. OceanAdapt ( is the result of a partnership between NOAA Fisheries and Rutgers University. This tool annually aggregates information from NOAA Fisheries fish stock surveys and other sources to provide information on the distribution of commercially and recreationally important marine species for easy use by multiple audiences.

Mr. Griffis said, “NOAA Fisheries is making progress in understanding and responding to climate-related changes in marine and coastal ecosystems. Partnerships, like those with Rutgers University to create OceanAdapt, are critical to meeting the high and growing demand for information on what’s changing and how to respond. Implementing the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy is essential to providing decision-makers with the information they need to reduce impacts and increase resilience of marine resources and the people who depend on them.”

Matthew Lettrich, a Research Associate with NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, will also present. His presentation will describe NOAA Fisheries efforts to develop a methodology for assessing the climate vulnerability of protected species, including marine mammals and sea turtles. The methodology will be used to assess the relative vulnerability of these species to changes in abundance and distribution with projected climate-related changes in marine ecosystems. It is being designed following the example of the NOAA Fisheries Fish Species Climate Vulnerability Assessment methodology. For more information see

To learn more about the Species on the Move conference, click here.