Posts Tagged 'communitymodeling'

The importance of environmental exposure history in forecasting Dungeness crab megalopae occurrence using J-SCOPE, a high-resolution model for the US Pacific Northwest

The Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) fishery is one of the highest value fisheries in the US Pacific Northwest, but its catch size fluctuates widely across years. Although the underlying causes of this wide variability are not well understood, the abundance of M. magister megalopae has been linked to recruitment into the adult fishery 4 years later. These pelagic megalopae are exposed to a range of ocean conditions during their dispersal period, which may drive their occurrence patterns. Environmental exposure history has been found to be important for some pelagic organisms, so we hypothesized that inclusion of recent environmental exposure history would improve our ability to predict inter-annual variability in M. magister megalopae occurrence patterns compared to using “in situ” conditions alone. We combined 8 years of local observations of M. magister megalopae and regional simulations of ocean conditions to model megalopae occurrence using a generalized linear model (GLM) framework. The modeled ocean conditions were extracted from JISAO’s Seasonal Coastal Ocean Prediction of the Ecosystem (J-SCOPE), a high-resolution coupled physical-biogeochemical model. The analysis included variables from J-SCOPE identified in the literature as important for larval crab occurrence: temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, nitrate concentration, phytoplankton concentration, pH, aragonite, and calcite saturation state. GLMs were developed with either in situ ocean conditions or environmental exposure histories generated using particle tracking experiments. We found that inclusion of exposure history improved the ability of the GLMs to predict megalopae occurrence 98% of the time. Of the six swimming behaviors used to simulate megalopae dispersal, five behaviors generated GLMs with superior fits to the observations, so a biological ensemble of these models was constructed. When the biological ensemble was used for forecasting, the model showed skill in predicting megalopae occurrence (AUC = 0.94). Our results highlight the importance of including exposure history in larval occurrence modeling and help provide a method for predicting pelagic megalopae occurrence. This work is a step toward developing a forecast product to support management of the fishery.

Continue reading ‘The importance of environmental exposure history in forecasting Dungeness crab megalopae occurrence using J-SCOPE, a high-resolution model for the US Pacific Northwest’

Model simulation of seasonal growth of Fucus vesiculosus in its benthic community

Numerical models are a suitable tool to quantify impacts of predicted climate change on complex ecosystems but are rarely used to study effects on benthic macroalgal communities. Fucus vesiculosus L. is a habitat‐forming macroalga in the Baltic Sea and alarming shifts from the perennial Fucus community to annual filamentous algae are reported. We developed a box model able to simulate the seasonal growth of the Baltic Fucus–grazer–epiphyte system. This required the implementation of two state variables for Fucus biomass in units of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Model equations describe relevant physiological and ecological processes, such as storage of C and N assimilates by Fucus, shading effects of epiphytes or grazing by herbivores on both Fucus and epiphytes, but with species‐specific rates and preferences. Parametrizations of the model equations and required initial conditions were based on measured parameters and process rates in the near‐natural Kiel Outdoor Benthocosm (KOB) experiments during the Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification project. To validate the model, we compared simulation results with observations in the KOB experiment that lasted from April 2013 until March 2014 under ambient and climate‐change scenarios, that is, increased atmospheric temperature and partial pressure of carbon dioxide. The model reproduced the magnitude and seasonal cycles of Fucus growth and other processes in the KOBs over 1 yr under different scenarios. Now having established the Fucus model, it will be possible to better highlight the actual threat of climate change to the Fucus community in the shallow nearshore waters of the Baltic Sea.

Continue reading ‘Model simulation of seasonal growth of Fucus vesiculosus in its benthic community’

Clam feeding plasticity reduces herbivore vulnerability to ocean warming and acidification

Ocean warming and acidification affect species populations, but how interactions within communities are affected and how this translates into ecosystem functioning and resilience remain poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that experimental ocean warming and acidification significantly alters the interaction network among porewater nutrients, primary producers, herbivores and burrowing invertebrates in a seafloor sediment community, and is linked to behavioural plasticity in the clam Scrobicularia plana. Warming and acidification induced a shift in the clam’s feeding mode from predominantly suspension feeding under ambient conditions to deposit feeding with cascading effects on nutrient supply to primary producers. Surface-dwelling invertebrates were more tolerant to warming and acidification in the presence of S. plana, most probably due to the stimulatory effect of the clam on their microalgal food resources. This study demonstrates that predictions of population resilience to climate change require consideration of non-lethal effects such as behavioural changes of key species.

Continue reading ‘Clam feeding plasticity reduces herbivore vulnerability to ocean warming and acidification’

Climate shapes population variation in dogwhelk predation on foundational mussels

Trait variation among populations is important for shaping ecological dynamics. In marine intertidal systems, seawater temperature, low tide emersion temperature, and pH can drive variation in traits and affect species interactions. In western North America, Nucella dogwhelks are intertidal drilling predators of the habitat-forming mussel Mytilus californianus. Nucella exhibit local adaptation, but it is not known to what extent environmental factors and genetic structure contribute to variation in prey selectivity among populations. We surveyed drilled mussels at sites across Oregon and California, USA, and used multiple regression and Mantel tests to test the effects of abiotic factors and Nucella neutral genetic relatedness on the size of mussels drilled across sites. Our results show that Nucella at sites characterized by higher and less variable temperature and pH drilled larger mussels. Warmer temperatures appear to induce faster handling time, and more stable pH conditions may prolong opportunities for active foraging by reducing exposure to repeated stressful conditions. In contrast, there was no significant effect of genetic relatedness on prey size selectivity. Our results emphasize the role of climate in shaping marine predator selectivity on a foundation species. As coastal climates change, predator traits will respond to localized environmental conditions, changing ecological interactions.

Continue reading ‘Climate shapes population variation in dogwhelk predation on foundational mussels’

Potential socioeconomic impacts from ocean acidification and climate change effects on Atlantic Canadian fisheries

Ocean acidification is an emerging consequence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The full extent of the biological impacts are currently not entirely defined. However, it is expected that invertebrate species that rely on the mineral calcium carbonate will be directly affected. Despite the limited understanding of the full extent of potential impacts and responses there is a need to identify potential pathways for human societies to be affected by ocean acidification. Research on these social implications is a small but developing field. This research contributes to this field by using an impact assessment framework, informed by a biophysical model of future species distributions, to investigate potential impacts facing Atlantic Canadian society from potential changes in shellfish fisheries driven by ocean acidification and climate change. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are expected to see declines in resource accessibility but are relatively socially insulated from these changes. Conversely, Prince Edward Island, along with Newfoundland and Labrador are more socially vulnerable to potential losses in fisheries, but are expected to experience relatively minor net changes in access.

Continue reading ‘Potential socioeconomic impacts from ocean acidification and climate change effects on Atlantic Canadian fisheries’

Effects of coastal acidification on North Atlantic bivalves: interpreting laboratory responses in the context of in situ populations

Experimental exposure of early life stage bivalves has documented negative effects of elevated pCO2 on survival and growth, but the population consequences of these effects are unknown. We substituted laboratory responses into baseline population models of northern quahog Mercenaria mercenaria and bay scallop Argopecten irradians. The models were constructed using inverse demography with time series of size-structured field data from New York, USA, whereas the stress-response relationships were developed using data from published laboratory studies. We used stochastic projections and diffusion approximations of extinction probability to estimate cumulative risk of 50% population decline during 5 yr projections at pCO2 levels of 400, 800, and 1200 µatm. Although the A. irradians field population exhibited higher growth (12% yr-1) than the declining M. mercenaria population (-8% yr-1), cumulative risk was higher due to variance in the stochastic growth rate estimate (log λs = -0.02, σ2 = 0.24). This 5 yr risk increased from 56% at 400 µatm to 99 and >99% at 800 and 1200 µatm, respectively. For M. mercenaria (log λs = -0.09, σ2 = 0.01), 5 yr risk was 25, 79, and 97% at 400, 800, and 1200 µatm, respectively. These estimates could be improved with detailed consideration of harvest, disease, restocking, compensatory responses, and interactions between these and other effects. However, results clearly indicate that early life stage responses to plausible levels of pCO2 enrichment have the potential to cause significant increases in risk to these marine bivalve populations.

Continue reading ‘Effects of coastal acidification on North Atlantic bivalves: interpreting laboratory responses in the context of in situ populations’

Multispecies yield and profit when exploitation rates vary spatially including the impact on mortality of ocean acidification on North Pacific crab stocks

A multi-species size-structured population dynamics model that can account for spatial structure and technical interactions between commercial fisheries was developed and applied to the snow and southern Tanner crab fisheries in the eastern Bering Sea. The model was then used as the basis for forecasts to calculate reference points related to yield and profit under the effects of ocean acidification on snow and southern Tanner crab. Stochastic projections that account for variation about the stock-recruitment relationship were undertaken for a constant F35% harvest strategy, a strategy that sets effort to maximize profit ignoring the effects of environmental variability such as ocean acidification, and the Acceptable Biological Catch control rule, which includes a reduction in fishing mortality rate when stocks are below target levels. Single- and four-area models led to similar fits to abundance and catch data, and provide similar estimates of time-trajectories of mature male biomass. The model is used to compute Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and an upper bound on Maximum Economic Yield (uMEY). The effort levels that achieve MSY and uMEY were sensitive to whether a spatial or non-spatial model was used to calculate reference points and hence how technical interactions among species were accounted for. Dynamic projections based on various management strategies indicated that adopting a uMEY target level of effort leads to some robustness to the effects of ocean acidification, although similar results can be obtained using the Acceptable Biological Catch control rule, which reduces harvest rates as biomass levels decline.

Continue reading ‘Multispecies yield and profit when exploitation rates vary spatially including the impact on mortality of ocean acidification on North Pacific crab stocks’


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