The shipworm, Teredo navalis, is absent from most of the Baltic Sea. In the last 20 years, increased frequency of T. navalis has been reported along the southern Baltic Sea coasts of Denmark, Germany, and Sweden, indicating possible range-extensions into previously unoccupied areas. We evaluated the effects of historical and projected near-future changes in salinity, temperature, and oxygen on the risk of spread of T. navalis in the Baltic. Specifically, we developed a simple, GIS-based, mechanistic climate envelope model to predict the spatial distribution of favourable conditions for adult reproduction and larval metamorphosis of T. navalis, based on published environmental tolerances to these factors. In addition, we used a high-resolution three-dimensional hydrographic model to simulate the probability of spread of T. navalis larvae within the study area. Climate envelope modeling showed that projected near-future climate change is not likely to change the overall distribution of T. navalis in the region, but will prolong the breeding season and increase the risk of shipworm establishment at the margins of the current range. Dispersal simulations indicated that the majority of larvae were philopatric, but those that spread over a wider area typically spread to areas unfavourable for their survival. Overall, therefore, we found no substantive evidence for climate-change related shifts in the distribution of T. navalis in the Baltic Sea, and no evidence for increased risk of spread in the near-future.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima