Sea temperature is the primary driver of recent and predicted fish community structure across Northeast Atlantic shelf seas

Louise A Rutterford*, Stephen D Simpson, Bjarte Bogstad, Jennifer A Devine, Martin J Genner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change has strongly influenced the distribution and abundance of marine fish species, leading to concern about effects of future climate on commercially harvested stocks. Understanding the key drivers of large-scale spatial variation across present-day marine assemblages enables predictions of future change. Here we present a unique analysis of standardised abundance data for 198 marine fish species from across the Northeast Atlantic collected by 23 surveys and 31,502 sampling events between 2005 and 2018. Our analyses of the spatially comprehensive standardised data identified temperature as the key driver of fish community structure across the region, followed by salinity and depth. We employed these key environmental variables to model how climate change will affect both the distributions of individual species and local community structure for the years 2050 and 2100 under multiple emissions scenarios. Our results consistently indicate that projected climate change will lead to shifts in species communities across the entire region. Overall, the greatest community-level changes are predicted at locations with greater warming, with the most pronounced effects at higher latitudes. Based on these results, we suggest that future climate-driven warming will lead to widespread changes in opportunities for commercial fisheries across the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2510-2521
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume29
Issue number9
Early online date10 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the national survey teams and contributors to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) fisheries survey datasets. We also thank the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science UK (Cefas) for supporting this research through both funding and fisheries survey data support. We really appreciate the specific help from Meadhbh Moriarty and Chris Lynam with extracting and collating fisheries data, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Bergen for sharing Norwegian survey data and Jonathan Tinker from the Met Office for guidance on appropriate climate models. We thank the anonymous referee for valuable comments. This work was supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)/Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Sustainable Marine Bioresources program award (M.J.G. & S.D.S. NE/F001878/1) and NERC‐Cefas CASE PhD Studentship (L.A.R., NE/L501669/1).

Funding Information:
We thank the national survey teams and contributors to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) fisheries survey datasets. We also thank the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science UK (Cefas) for supporting this research through both funding and fisheries survey data support. We really appreciate the specific help from Meadhbh Moriarty and Chris Lynam with extracting and collating fisheries data, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Bergen for sharing Norwegian survey data and Jonathan Tinker from the Met Office for guidance on appropriate climate models. We thank the anonymous referee for valuable comments. This work was supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)/Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Sustainable Marine Bioresources program award (M.J.G. & S.D.S. NE/F001878/1) and NERC-Cefas CASE PhD Studentship (L.A.R., NE/L501669/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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