Bottom-up effects of climate on fish populations: data from the Continuous Plankton Recorder

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2012

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The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) dataset on fish larvae has an extensive
spatio-temporal coverage that allows the responses of fish populations to past changes in climate variability, including abrupt changes such as regime shifts, to be investigated. The newly available dataset offers a unique opportunity to investigate long-term changes over decadal scales in the abundance and distribution of fish larvae in relation to physical and biological factors. A principal
component analysis (PCA) using 7 biotic and abiotic parameters is applied to investigate the impact of environmental changes in the North Sea on 5 selected taxa of fish larvae during the period 1960 to 2004. The analysis revealed 4 periods of time (1960–1976; 1977–1982; 1983–1996; 1997–2004) reflecting 3 different ecosystem states. The larvae of clupeids, sandeels, dab and
gadoids seemed to be affected mainly by changes in the plankton ecosystem, while the larvae of migratory species such as Atlantic mackerel responded more to hydrographic changes. Climate variability seems more likely to influence fish populations through bottom-up control via a cascading effect from changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) impacting on the hydro dynamic features of the North Sea, in turn impacting on the plankton available as prey for fish larvae. The responses and adaptability of fish larvae to changing environmental conditions, parti cularly to changes in prey availability, are complex and species-specific. This complexity is enhanced with fishing effects interacting with climate effects and this study supports furthering our under - standing of such interactions before attempting to predict how fish populations respond to climate
variability
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology - Progress Series
Publication date2012
Volume456
Pages169-186
ISSN0171-8630
DOIs
StatePublished
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 7
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