Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) habitat suitability maps

Caribbean spiny lobster is notable for a generally higher current baseline of habitat suitability index across most parts of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico (Figure 17). As a result, many of the future changes to habitat suitability for this species in either direction are relatively minor and generally limited to changes of less than 20%. In the shorter-term, lobster are expected to experience increased habitat suitability along the north coast of South America, in the more southerly Lesser Antilles, in offshore continental shelf areas of Jamaica, and along the deeper edge of the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. Toward the end of the century, many of these minor gains will be erased while habitat suitability continues to improve in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Notably, a few locations in the Caribbean Sea including some offshore areas south of Jamaica and some areas between Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda may continue to act as climate refuges for this species through the end of the century. Due to their greater resilience, effective fisheries management of spiny lobster now may help to preserve continued sustainable harvests under a future climate. Species-specific projected total habitat suitability index (HSI) and HSI's change or 'anomaly' under different carbon dioxide emission levels, including (A) total HSI for the 1970 to 2000 period; and changes in HSI under scenarios of (B) ~400 ppm and (C) ~565 ppm atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in the high resolution Earth system model (GFDL CM2.6).

(A) HSI now

Habitat suitability index Legend for the habitat suitability index map

(B) HSI mid-century anomaly

Mid-century anomaly Legend for the mid-century anomaly map

(C) HSI end-century anomaly

End-century anomaly Legend for the end-century anomaly map

Data and Resources

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Sector Ecological
Category Invertebrate
Habitat Coastal
Species group Crustacea
Economic group Crustaceans
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