Inter-Research > MEPS > v459 > p169-184  
MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 459:169-184 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09805

Relative importance of fisheries, trophodynamic and environmental drivers in a series of marine ecosystems

Caihong Fu1,*, Sarah Gaichas2, Jason S. Link3, Alida Bundy4, Jennifer L. Boldt1, Adam M. Cook4, Robert Gamble3, Kjell Rong Utne5, Hui Liu3, Kevin D. Friedland6

1Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9T 6N7, Canada
2NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA
3NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
4Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
5Institute of Marine Research, Nordnesgt 33, 5085 Bergen, Norway
6NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA

ABSTRACT: Marine ecosystems are influenced by drivers that operate and interact over multiple scales, resulting in nonlinear or abrupt responses to perturbation. Because of the inherent complexity of marine ecosystems, progress towards an understanding of factors that affect fisheries production will be most efficient if researchers adopt a comparative approach across ecosystems using suites of indicators. The goals of this study were to explore a suite of biomass- and catch-based ecosystem response indicators for 9 northern hemisphere ecosystems relative to indices that capture the influence of fisheries, trophodynamic and environmental drivers, and to compare the relative influence of the triad of drivers. Partial least squares regression was used to explore relationships between the ecosystem response indicators and predictor drivers and to estimate the relative importance of each of the triad of drivers. Across ecosystems we have identified a few common observations: (1) environmental drivers, particularly temperature-related independent variables, are most likely related to total system biomass and biomass of specific biological groups (e.g. gadoid or clupeid fishes); (2) trophodynamic drivers are most relevant to the mean trophic level of community and the demersal-to-pelagic biomass ratio; and (3) fisheries drivers tend to be related to the catch-based indicators, such as fishing-in-balance and percent of primary production required to support fisheries. Overall, each of the triad of drivers was important for all ecosystems; however, the relative importance of each driver and the indicators they most affected varied among ecosystems, suggesting that an examination of a suite of indicators and drivers is required. A key finding is that fishing is categorically an important driver, but to explain biomass trends it is very important to consider environmental drivers as well.


KEY WORDS: Marine ecosystems · Ecosystem indicators · Partial least squares regression · Multiple drivers


Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Fu C, Gaichas S, Link JS, Bundy A and others (2012) Relative importance of fisheries, trophodynamic and environmental drivers in a series of marine ecosystems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 459:169-184. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09805

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn