Integrated trend assessment of ecosystem changes in the Limfjord (Denmark): evidence of a recent regime shift?

Maciej Tomasz Tomczak, Grete E. Dinesen, Erik Hoffmann, Marie Maar, Josianne Støttrup

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Abstract

An integrated ecosystem assessment was carried out for the Limfjord over the period from 1984 to 2008 to describe changes in ecosystem structure and potentially important drivers. The Limfjord is an eutrophic transitional Danish fjord system with the main inflow from the North Sea in the west and main outflow to the Kattegat in the east. We showed that from 1990 to 1995, the ecosystem structure shifted from dominance by demersal fish species (eel pout, whiting, flounder, plaice) to that of pelagic fish species (sprat, herring, sticklebacks), smallbodied fish species (black goby, pipefish), jellyfish, common shore crab, starfish and blue mussels. We interpret this change as a regime shift that showed a similar temporal pattern to regime shifts identified in adjacent seas. The observed changes in trophic interactions and food web reorganisation suggested a non-linear regime shift. The analyses further showed the
regime shift to be driven by a combination of anthropogenic pressures and possible interplay with climatic disturbance
Original languageEnglish
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume117
Pages (from-to)178-187
ISSN0272-7714
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Regime shift
  • Ecosystem rate
  • Coastal waters
  • Structural changes
  • Management tool

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