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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 665:177-183 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13662

A macroecological perspective on the fluctuations of exploited fish populations

A. M. Segura1,*, R. Wiff2, A. J. Jaureguizar3,4,5, A. C. Milessi5, G. Perera1

1Universidad de la República, Centro Universitario Regional del Este, Modelización Estadística de Datos e Inteligencia Artificial (MEDIA), Rocha 27000, Uruguay
2Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 340, Santiago 8331150, Chile
3Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO), CC 804, Florida 8000, B8000FWB Bahía Blanca, Argentina
4Universidad Provincial del Sudoeste (UPSO), Subsede Coronel Pringles, Sáenz Peña 867, Coronel Pringles 7530, Argentina
5Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (CIC), Calle 526 e/ 10 y 11, La Plata 1900, Argentina
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The natural variability of fish populations is increased by exploitation, but the specific mechanisms driving this variability are still debated. We propose a macroscopic approach combining the size-density relationship and Taylor’s law to predict the temporal variance of exploited and unexploited fish populations. Using information from 11 years of fishery-independent abundance surveys, we showed that the body-size dependence of the variance of exploited (targeted) and unexploited (non-targeted or bycatch) fish populations can be accurately predicted. Targeted fish populations showed a variability that was 2 orders of magnitude greater than that of non-targeted fish populations. Such variability was explained solely by the higher relative abundance of the former, regardless of their specific trophic position, while aggregated community fluctuation was lower in a high trophic position group. This study showed the usefulness of the macroscopic approach to predict fish variability and fishing effect in the whole community. This approach is complementary to other modeling strategies and seems to be useful in tackling the problem of variability in population fluctuations of exploited fish, particularly in cases where specific details of the interacting species are lacking.


KEY WORDS: Macroecology · Fish community fluctuations · Species abundance · Taylor’s law · Variance-mass allometry


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Cite this article as: Segura AM, Wiff R, Jaureguizar AJ, Milessi AC, Perera G (2021) A macroecological perspective on the fluctuations of exploited fish populations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 665:177-183. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13662

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