Cod, Lobsters, Salmon, and Climate

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It's been a productive couple of weeks in the lab.  This is just a quick post to announce a few publications that are now available.  Some of the ideas and figures in the pubs will seem familiar to Seascape reader(s).

  • "The Future of Cod in the Gulf of Maine" (aka the GMRI Cod White Paper) (PDF)
This was a collaborative effort by the Research and Community programs at GMRI to synthesize what we know about Gulf of Maine cod.  More importantly, the paper lays out a series of research questions and recommendations to improve the status of this species and to increase the profitability of the fishery.  Some of my analysis of temperature trends and potential impacts on cod appear in the paper.

  • Mills, K.E., A.J. Pershing, C.J. Brown, Y. Chen, F.-S. Chiang, D.S. Holland, S. Lehuta, J.A. Nye, J.C. Sun, A.C. Thomas, and R.A. Wahle. 2013. Fisheries management in a changing climate: Lessons from the 2012 ocean heat wave in the Northwest Atlantic. Oceanography 26(2), (link, PDF)
To my knowledge, this is the first paper to describe the 2012 ocean heat wave, and it's definitely the first to talk about impacts on species and fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. During 2012, southerly species like longfin squid moved into the Gulf of Maine and resident species like lobsters started their annual cycles three weeks earlier.  We use the impacts from the 2012 event to highlight challenges and limitations of current fisheries management with respect to climate change.  We've put a lot of info on the 2012 event on the blog such as these videos, but this line of thinking also has its origins in the testimony I gave last summer.

  • Mills, K.E., A.J. Pershing,  T. F. Sheehan,  D. Mountain. 2013. Climate and ecosystem linkages explain widespread declines in North American Atlantic salmon populations.  Global Change Biology, (link, PDF available by request)
US Atlantic salmon have declined and remain at very low levels.  Kathy's analysis shows that the declines in the US are part of a coherent pattern affecting salmon populations from rivers across North America.  We attribute the decline to a shift in environmental conditions in the Labrador Sea region, including warming and the decline in capelin size (and possibly abundance and distribution).  The warming signal in the Labrador Sea is one of the major climate trends of the last decade (see figure below and is visible here).  Kathy also mentions the beginning of this work in her post on the "Salmon Summit."
The colors show the trend in the ERSST data from 1971-2012.  Note the red region in the Labrador Sea.  Although the trends in most places are significant, the trend in the Labrador Sea is highly significant and explains a large portion of the variance.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Pershing published on July 2, 2013 12:00 PM.

Predicting Temperature and Lobster Phenology was the previous entry in this blog.

Poster for ICES Conference is the next entry in this blog.

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