Functional reorganization of marine fish nurseries under climate warming

McLean, Matthew J., Mouillot, David, Goascoz, Nicolas, Schlaich, Ivan, and Auber, Arnaud (2019) Functional reorganization of marine fish nurseries under climate warming. Global Change Biology, 25 (2). pp. 660-674.

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While climate change is rapidly impacting marine species and ecosystems worldwide, the effects of climate warming on coastal fish nurseries have received little attention despite nurseries' fundamental roles in recruitment and population replenishment. Here, we used a 26-year time series (1987-2012) of fish monitoring in the Bay of Somme, a nursery in the Eastern English Channel (EEC), to examine the impacts of environmental and human drivers on the spatial and temporal dynamics of fish functional structure during a warming phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). We found that the nursery was initially dominated by fishes with r-selected life-history traits such as low trophic level, low age and size at maturity, and small offspring, which are highly sensitive to warming. The AMO, likely superimposed on climate change, induced rapid warming in the late 1990s (over 1 degrees C from 1998 to 2003), leading to functional reorganization of fish communities, with a roughly 80% decline in overall fish abundance and increased dominance by K-selected fishes. Additionally, historical overfishing likely rendered the bay more vulnerable to climatic changes due to increased dominance by fishing-tolerant, yet climatically sensitive species. The drop in fish abundance not only altered fish functional structure within the Bay of Somme, but the EEC was likely impacted, as the EEC has been unable to recover from a regime shift in the late 1990s potentially, in part, due to failed replenishment from the bay. Given the collapse of r-selected fishes, we discuss how the combination of climate cycles and global warming could threaten marine fish nurseries worldwide, as nurseries are often dominated by r-selected species.

Item ID: 57026
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, climate change, ecosystem function, English Channel, fisheries, functional traits, life history, recruitment
Copyright Information: © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Funders: European Development Fund (EDF), Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Region Hauts‐de‐France, Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB)
Projects and Grants: FRB 2014-10824
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2019 07:39
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 100%
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