Are we ready to track climate-driven shifts in marine species across international boundaries? - A global survey of scientific bottom trawl data

Aurore Maureaud*, Romain Frelat, Lauréne Pécuchet, Nancy Shackell, Bastien Mérigot, Malin L. Pinsky, Kofi Amador, Sean C. Anderson, Alexander Arkhipkin, Arnaud Auber, Iça Barr, Rich Bell, Jonathan Belmarker, Esther Deborah Beukhof, Mohamed Lamine Camara, Renato Guevara-Carrasco, Junghwa Choi, Helle Torp Christensen, Jason Conner, Luis A. CubillosHamet Diaw Diadhiou, Dori Edelist, Margrete Emblemsvåg, Billy Ernst, Tracey P. Fairweather, Heino O. Fock, Kevin D. Friedland, Camilo B. Garcia, Didier Gascuel, Henrik Gislason, Menachem Goren, Jérôme Guitton, Didier Jouffre, Tarek Hattab, Manuel Hidalgo, Johannes N. Kathena, Ian Knuckey, Saïko Oumar Kidé, Mariano Koen-Alonso, Matt Koopman, Vladimir Kulik, Jacqueline Palacios León, Ya'arit Levitt-Barmats, Martin Lindegren, Marcos Llope, Félix Massiot-Granier, Hicham Masski, Matthew McLean, Beyah Meissa, Laurène Mérillet, Vesselina Mihneva, Francis K.E. Nunoo, Richard O'Driscoll, Cecilia A. O'Leary, Elitsa Petrova, Jorge E. Ramos, Wahid Refes, Esther Román-Marcote, Helle Siegstad, Ignacio Sobrino, Jón Sólmundsson, Oren Sonin, Ingrid Spies, Petur Steingrund, Fabrice Stephenson, Nir Stern, Feriha Tserkova, Georges Tserpas, Evangelos Tzamos, Itai van Rijn, Paul A.M. van Zwieten, Paraskevas Vasilakopoulos, Daniela V. Yepsen, Philippe Ziegler, James Thorson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Marine biota is redistributing at a rapid pace in response to climate change and shifting seascapes. While changes in fish populations and community structure threaten the sustainability of fisheries, our capacity to adapt by tracking and projecting marine species remains a challenge due to data discontinuities in biological observations, lack of data availability, and mismatch between data and real species distributions. To assess the extent of this challenge, we review the global status and accessibility of ongoing scientific bottom trawl surveys. In total, we gathered metadata for 283,925 samples from 95 surveys conducted regularly from 2001 to 2019. 59% of the metadata collected are not publicly available, highlighting that the availability of data is the most important challenge to assess species redistributions under global climate change. We further found that single surveys do not cover the full range of the main commercial demersal fish species and that an average of 18 surveys is needed to cover at least 50% of species ranges, demonstrating the importance of combining multiple surveys to evaluate species range shifts. We assess the potential for combining surveys to track transboundary species redistributions and show that differences in sampling schemes and inconsistency in sampling can be overcome with vector autoregressive spatio-temporal modeling to follow species density redistributions. In light of our global assessment, we establish a framework for improving the management and conservation of transboundary and migrating marine demersal species. We provide directions to improve data availability and encourage countries to share survey data, to assess species vulnerabilities, and to support management adaptation in a time of climate-driven ocean changes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)220-236
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Demersal fish
  • Bottom trawl survey
  • Open science
  • Climate change
  • Transboundary conservation
  • Species distribution
  • Global data synthesis
  • Fisheries policy


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