MEPS 557:237-246 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11886

A complex past: historical and contemporary fisheries demonstrate nonlinear dynamics and a loss of determinism

E. S. Klein1,2,*, S. M. Glaser3,4, A. Jordaan5, L. Kaufman6, A. A. Rosenberg7

1Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8901 La Jolla Shores Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
2Farallon Institute, 101 H St., Petaluma, CA 94952, USA
3Korbel School of International Studies, 2201 S. Gaylord St., University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA
4Secure Fisheries, One Earth Future Foundation, 525 Zang St., Broomfield, CO 80021, USA
5Dept of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
6Dept of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA
7Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists, 2 Brattle Square, Cambridge, Boston, MA 02138, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Nonlinear dynamics have been widely demonstrated in natural systems. In marine fisheries ecosystems, such dynamics have primarily been associated with exploited species, suggesting an anthropogenic stressor may explain their prevalence. However, this earlier work compared co-occurring exploited and unexploited species, as opposed to analyzing the same species before and after significant harvesting pressure. The former does not control for either differences between species or the reality of indirect and long-lasting fishing impacts. Here, nonlinear dynamics were investigated for the same species before and after significant changes in the magnitude of harvesting. We found nonlinear signatures prevalent prior to heavy industrial exploitation, and also found that these dynamics were highly deterministic. This demonstrates that nonlinearity existed in a complex marine system prior to extensive human influence and suggests such behavior may be an innate property of these populations. Results also show a reduction in deterministic dynamics post industrialization, suggesting that fishing can undermine the dynamics and resilience of marine populations and render fisheries model output less predictable for management.


KEY WORDS: Nonlinear dynamics · Fishing · Marine historical ecology · Bay of Fundy


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Cite this article as: Klein ES, Glaser SM, Jordaan A, Kaufman L, Rosenberg AA (2016) A complex past: historical and contemporary fisheries demonstrate nonlinear dynamics and a loss of determinism. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 557:237-246. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11886

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