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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 607:19-36 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12791

Concurrent changes in spatial distribution of the demersal community in response to climate variations in the southern Iberian coastal Large Marine Ecosystem

Marina Delgado1,*, Manuel Hidalgo2,3, Patricia Puerta2, Ricardo Sánchez-Leal1, Lucía Rueda2, Ignacio Sobrino1

1Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Cádiz, Muelle de Levante s/n, 11006 Cádiz, Spain
2Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears, Moll de Ponent s/n, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
3Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Málaga, Puerto Pesquero s/n, 29640 Fuengirola, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Species inhabiting transitional areas in large marine ecosystems are highly sensitive to climate variations and thus of paramount importance as indicators of ecosystem changes. The spatiotemporal distribution of representative species of the demersal community in the southern Iberian coastal Large Marine Ecosystem was investigated using time series data from trawl surveys conducted in the Gulf of Cádiz. The geographic and bathymetric variability in the population distribution was analyzed. We investigated the influence of hydroclimatic (chlorophyll a concentration, sea surface temperature, precipitation, runoff, oceanic wind and meso- and large-scale climate indices) and population drivers (density) on species depth and location. Distribution shifts were more evident over the longitudinal gradient with species approaching and moving away from the Strait of Gibraltar. This contrasting behavior was segregated by depth and the hydrographical boundary of the Guadalquivir River runoff plume. On the shallow shelf (<100 m), a southeastward movement towards the Strait of Gibraltar was clear. This geographical shift was also observed in species from the deeper strata, occasionally coupled with depth changes. These movements were mainly associated with climate variability, in particular the North Atlantic Oscillation, whose effects were clearly species specific. Additionally, longitudinal variations of the community at a regional scale were related to a local climatic index that captured a pattern of covariation in local surface wind, temperature and precipitation. This study focuses on responses of several species with contrasting life histories (from Sparidae to Elasmobranchs) to hydroclimatic variability in the southern Iberian coastal Large Marine Ecosystem.


KEY WORDS: Demersal species · Spatial ecology · Species distribution · Geographic shifts · Climate indices · Southern Iberian coastal Large Marine Ecosystem


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Cite this article as: Delgado M, Hidalgo M, Puerta P, Sánchez-Leal R, Rueda L, Sobrino I (2018) Concurrent changes in spatial distribution of the demersal community in response to climate variations in the southern Iberian coastal Large Marine Ecosystem. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 607:19-36. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12791

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