Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Insights Into Marine Ecosystems And Fisheries Production

Date:
October 19, 2009
Source:
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Summary:
NOAA and Norwegian researchers recently completed a comparative analysis of marine ecosystems in the North Atlantic and North Pacific to see what factors support fisheries production, leading to new insights that could improve fishery management plans and the ecosystems.

Two of the four marine ecosystems studied in MENU are in the eastern Bering Sea and the coastal region of the northern Gulf of Alaska.
Credit: K.F. Drinkwater, F. Mueter, K.D. Friedland, M. Taylor, G.L. Hunt Jr., J. Hare, W. Melle, Progress in Oceanography 81 (1-4): 10-28

NOAA and Norwegian researchers recently completed a comparative analysis of marine ecosystems in the North Atlantic and North Pacific to see what factors support fisheries production, leading to new insights that could improve fishery management plans and the ecosystems.

Known as MENU, for Marine Ecosystems of Norway and the U.S., the collaborative project involved scientists at the NOAA Fisheries Service’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Alaska Fisheries Science Center and colleagues at the Institute of Marine Research in Norway. Results of their analyses, funded by the Norwegian Research Council, were recently published in a special issue of the journal Progress in Oceanography.

“We used some innovative statistical methods and approaches, applying these over different space and time scales to compare multiple ecosystems,” said Jason Link of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center lab in Woods Hole, Mass., who served as a guest editor of the issue and is a co-author of several of the 17 research articles.

"Other comparative ecosystem studies have been conducted, but most have involved applying a single statistical model to multiple systems or multiple models to one ecosystem. MENU is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated view of a wide range of marine ecosystems.”

Researchers involved in MENU and in other comparative analyses found underlying patterns in the ecosystems that would not have been apparent had only one ecosystem been studied. For example, MENU results revealed that deeper eastern ocean boundary systems, like those off Alaska or in the eastern North Atlantic off Europe, are more strongly influenced by bottom-up mechanisms, known as forcing. These would include broad scale oceanographic systems like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

Shallower western boundary systems, mainly on continental shelves, like Georges Bank and other areas off the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, are more strongly influenced by top-down processes, such as fisheries exploitation. "Both top-down and bottom-up processes occur in all of these ecosystems, but being able to determine their relative importance is difficult.," Link said.

The researchers compared marine ecosystems in the northern hemisphere and mostly in high latitudes, ranging from the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska in the North Pacific to Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine, North Sea and the Adriatic Sea off Italy. Other ecosystems studied included the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland Shelf, Southern New England, Gulf of Finland, and the Baltic Sea. All of these ecosystems support commercially important fisheries.

Fisheries landings in the ecosystems studied appear to have shifted from groundfish to invertebrates, such as squid, shrimp and scallops. In many, the fish community has changed from one dominated by demersal or bottom-dwelling species to one dominated by pelagic or upper water column species. The researchers note that it is unclear if their findings are true of all marine ecosystems, or just those studied. One of the many questions raised by the comparative analyses is whether similar species in different ecosystems react to environmental conditions in similar ways, or whether the local ecosystems override global factors.

Fisheries production varies widely among ecosystems, and is affected by changing natural and human-induced factors such as climate, pollution and fishing effort. With so many factors involved, Link said scientists need to understand the relative importance of each factor in each ecosystem, something that is difficult to achive but important for an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and conservation.

“We do a lot of science, but rarely have the opportunity to pull it all together to understand the big picture, with basin-scale comparisons, so that we can start to understand processes within an ecosystem as well as between ecosystems,” Link said. “Since we cannot conduct experiments in large marine ecosystems, we used the comparative approach in MENU as a natural experiment to address a number of questions. Among these are what is fundamental to ecosystems in general, and what is unique to particular ecosystems?”

Scientists are already undertaking more integrated ecosystem assessments like MENU in the U.S. to build on decades of smaller scale, more focused studies on individual ecosystems. Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization, or CAMEO, is a partnership between NOAA’s Fisheries Service and the National Science Foundation to advance understanding of marine ecological systems using a comparative approach. CAMEO funded seven projects for 2008-2009 and is currently soliciting research proposals for 2009-2010.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. "New Insights Into Marine Ecosystems And Fisheries Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930165036.htm>.
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. (2009, October 19). New Insights Into Marine Ecosystems And Fisheries Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930165036.htm
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. "New Insights Into Marine Ecosystems And Fisheries Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930165036.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins