Oceans and Climate Change: Impact on Human and Ocean Communities

While rising ocean temperatures exert direct effects both on ocean communities and on human communities that rely on the ocean, there are many other surprising consequences associated with climate change.  This panel contrasts the impacts of climate change on tropical versus Gulf of Maine ecosystems.  We look at examples from specific iconic species such as corals, lobsters, cod, whales and groundfish from the point of view of both human and ocean communities. We consider how the negative consequences of climate change to ocean communities fall disproportionately on impoverished human communities.


  • Tropical ecosystems: climate driven change in coral reef ecosystems – Dan Thornhill (National Science Foundation Program Officer, Bowdoin Doherty Marine Biology Scholar, 2008-2011)
  • Iconic species (e.g., cod, lobsters, shrimp, whales, groundfish) in the Gulf of Maine and impact on local fishing communities; local vs. tropical – Damon Gannon (Director of the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island)
  • Disproportionate impact on more impoverished communities: Contrasting community-based management of coral reefs as tourism amenities against the dire effects of warming and acidification – Ta Herrera (Economics)