Integrating ecophysiology and plankton dynamics into projected maximum fisheries catch potential under climate change in the Northeast Atlantic

Previous global analyses projected shifts in species distributions and maximum fisheries catch potential across ocean basins by 2050 under the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A1B. However, these studies did not account for the effects of changes in ocean biogeochemistry and phytoplankton community structure that affect fish and invertebrate distribution and productivity. This paper uses a dynamic bioclimatic envelope model that incorporates these factors to project distribution and maximum catch potential of 120 species of exploited demersal fish and invertebrates in the Northeast Atlantic. Using projections from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Earth System Model (ESM2.1) under the SRES A1B, we project an average rate of distribution-centroid shift of 52 km decade−1 northwards and 5.1 m decade−1 deeper from 2005 to 2050. Ocean acidification and reduction in oxygen content reduce growth performance, increase the rate of range shift, and lower the estimated catch potentials (10-year average of 2050 relative to 2005) by 20–30% relative to simulations without considering these factors. Consideration of phytoplankton community structure may further reduce projected catch potentials by ∼10%. These results highlight the sensitivity of marine ecosystems to biogeochemical changes and the need to incorporate likely hypotheses of their biological and ecological effects in assessing climate change impacts.

Cheung W. W. L., Dunne J., Sarmiento J. L. & Pauly, D., 2011. Integrating ecophysiology and plankton dynamics into projected maximum fisheries catch potential under climate change in the Northeast Atlantic. ICES Journal of Marine Science. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsr012. Article (subscription required).


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