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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 426 - Feature article
Fishery-induced modification of the demography of European hake Merluccius merluccius has led to a shift towards recruitment–dependent population dynamics.Image: Jorge Hernandez (IEO)

Hidalgo M, Rouyer T, Molinero JC, Massutí E, Moranta J, Guijarro B, Stenseth NC


Synergistic effects of fishing-induced demographic changes and climate variation on fish population dynamics


Interactions among fishing pressure, climate change and species population dynamics, and resulting fluctuations in fish populations, are poorly understood. Hidalgo and co-workers show that fishery-induced modification of the demographic structure in an overexploited NW Mediterranean fish, the European hake Merluccius merluccius, can trigger a shift from internally generated to externally forced population fluctuations. Changes in the seasonality of the hydroclimate in the early 1980s may have led to a mismatch between favourable environmental conditions and development in early life stages of hake, thus increasing the dependence of the population on recruitment and, ultimately, on environmental variability.


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