A cascade of warming impacts brings bluefin tuna to Greenland waters

Brian MacKenzie, Mark Payne, Jesper Boje, Jacob L. Høyer, Helle Siegstad

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Rising ocean temperatures are causing marine fish species to shift spatial distributions and ranges, and are altering predator-prey dynamics in food-webs. Most documented cases of species shifts so far involve relatively small species at lower trophic levels, and consider individual species in ecological isolation from others. Here we show that a large highly migratory top predator fish species has entered a high latitude sub-polar area. Bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus Linnaeus 1758, were captured in waters east of Greenland (65o N) in August 2012 during exploratory fishing for Atlantic mackerel, Scomber scombrus Linnaeus 1758. The bluefin tuna were captured in a single net-haul in 9-11o C water together with 6 tonnes of mackerel, which is a preferred prey species and itself a new immigrant to the area. Regional temperatures in August 2012 were historically high and contributed to a warming trend since 1985, when temperatures began to rise. The presence of bluefin tuna in this region is likely due to a combination of warm temperatures that are physiologically more tolerable and immigration of an important prey species into the region. We conclude that a cascade of climate change impacts is restructuring the food web in east Greenland waters
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventESSAS Annual Science Meeting - University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 7 Apr 20149 Apr 2014


ConferenceESSAS Annual Science Meeting
LocationUniversity of Copenhagen

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