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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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The changing coastal residency patterns of migratory fish species in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Image: Lauren Fish, Joseph Langan

Langan JA, Puggioni G, Oviatt CA, Henderson ME, Collie JS


Climate alters the migration phenology of coastal marine species


Shifts in the phenology of life-cycle events have been observed in many taxa throughout the global oceans. While the migration timing of fish and invertebrates is expected to be sensitive to climate change, the complex nature of these patterns has made measurement difficult and studies rare. This research used 58 y of weekly trawl survey observations of 12 fish and squid species in the northwest Atlantic to measure changes in migration phenology. We found that coastal residence periods have changed by as much as 118 d in response to temperature conditions across the continental shelf. Combined with evidence that temperature gradients influence nearshore distribution patterns, this suggests that species are adapting their spatiotemporal distributions to track their thermal niche in a warming ocean..


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