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CR 41:15-19 (2010)  -  DOI:

Spatial changes in the sensitivity of Atlantic cod to climate-driven effects in the plankton

Grégory Beaugrand1,2,*, Richard R. Kirby2,3

1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences, UMR LOG CNRS 8187, Université des Sciences et Technologies Lille, 1 BP 80, 62930 Wimereux, France
2Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL12PB, UK
3School of Marine Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK

ABSTRACT: Recent strategies to sustain fish stocks have suggested a move towards an ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM) approach. While EBFM considers the effect of fishing at the ecosystem level, it generally struggles with climate-driven environmental variability. In this study we show that the position of a fish stock within its distributional range or thermal niche (we use Icelandic and North Sea cod as examples of stocks at the centre and edge of their niche, respectively) will influence the relative importance of fishing and climate on abundance. At the warmer edge of the thermal niche of cod in the North Sea, we show a prominent influence of climate on the cod stock that is mediated through temperature effects on the plankton. In contrast, the influence of climate through its effects on plankton appears much less important at the present centre of the niche around Iceland. Recognising the potentially strong effect of climate on fish stocks, at a time of rapid global climate change, is probably an important prerequisite towards the synthesis of a cod management strategy.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Cod · Plankton · Temperature · Fishing

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Cite this article as: Beaugrand G, Kirby RR (2010) Spatial changes in the sensitivity of Atlantic cod to climate-driven effects in the plankton. Clim Res 41:15-19.

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