MEPS 365:187-197 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07414

Application of macroecological theory to predict effects of climate change on global fisheries potential

William W. L. Cheung*, Chris Close, Vicky Lam, Reg Watson, Daniel Pauly

Sea Around Us Project, Fisheries Centre, The University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada

ABSTRACT: Global changes are shaping the ecology and biogeography of marine species and their fisheries. Macroecology theory, which deals with large scale relationships between ecology and biogeography, can be used to develop models to predict the effects of global changes on marine species that in turn affect their fisheries. First, based on theories linking trophic energetics and allometric scaling of metabolism, we developed a theoretical model that relates maximum catch potential from a species to its trophic level, geographic range, and mean primary production within the species’ exploited range. Then, using this theoretical model and data from 1000 species of exploited marine fishes and invertebrates, we analyzed the empirical relationship between species’ approximated maximum catch potential, their ecology, and biogeography variables. Additional variables are included in the empirical model to correct for biases resulting from the uncertainty inherent in the original catch data. The empirical model has high explanatory power and agrees with theoretical expectations. In the future, this empirical model can be combined with a bioclimate envelope model to predict the socio-economic impacts of climate change on global marine fisheries. Such potential application is illustrated here with an example pertaining to the small yellow croaker Larimichthys polyactis (Sciaenidae) from the East China Sea.


KEY WORDS: Macroecology · Climate change · Fisheries · Catch


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Cite this article as: Cheung WWL, Close C, Lam V, Watson R, Pauly D (2008) Application of macroecological theory to predict effects of climate change on global fisheries potential. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 365:187-197

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