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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 495:205-218 (2014)  -  DOI:

Functional diversity of the Barents Sea fish community

Magnus Aune Wiedmann1,*, Michaela Aschan1, Grégoire Certain2, Andrey Dolgov3, Michael Greenacre1,4, Edda Johannesen5, Benjamin Planque2, Raul Primicerio6

1Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø (UiT), 9037 Tromsø, Norway
2Institute of Marine Research (IMR), PO Box 6404, 9294 Tromsø, Norway
3Knipovich Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO), 6 Knipovich Street, 183038 Murmansk, Russia
4Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
5Institute of Marine Research (IMR), PO Box 1870, Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
6Department of Marine and Arctic Biology, University of Tromsø (UiT), 9037 Tromsø, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This paper provides the first assessment of the functional diversity (FD) of the Barents Sea fish community. FD is recognized as an important driver of ecosystem functions and, thus, governs the adaptability of ecosystems in the face of disturbance. We integrate ecosystem survey data with an extensive trait matrix and show that fish FD displayed large spatial variation. The study period (2004 to 2009) was characterized by increasing water temperatures and decreasing ice coverage. FD remained stable between years in some areas but showed substantial variation in other areas. For instance, FD was consistently high in the central-west Barents Sea because of the high richness of functionally homogeneous species, whereas it varied strongly in northern areas through time. Such patterns of strong variation were probably driven by the strong warming trend registered in the study period. The species found in the eastern Barents Sea were more functionally distinct than those found in the west. Even though this pattern indicates that assemblages in the eastern areas display high adaptability relative to the number of species present, species loss in these areas will have a higher impact on the FD. Our findings show that FD gives more information about fish community structure and functioning than traditional biodiversity measures, and we suggest that such trait-based methods may constitute useful tools for future monitoring and management of marine fish communities.

KEY WORDS: Biodiversity · Functional traits · Functional dispersion · Fish · Monitoring

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Cite this article as: Wiedmann MA, Aschan M, Certain G, Dolgov A and others (2014) Functional diversity of the Barents Sea fish community. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 495:205-218.

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