Seasonal, interannual, and spatial patterns of community composition over the eastern Bering Sea shelf in cold years. Part II: ichthyoplankton and juvenile fish
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Seasonal, interannual, and spatial patterns of community composition over the eastern Bering Sea shelf in cold years. Part II: ichthyoplankton and juvenile fish
  • Published Date:

    2018

  • Source:
    Ices Journal of Marine Science, 75(1), 87-101.
Filetype[PDF-1.21 MB]


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  • Description:
    Climate-mediated oceanographic changes have led to protracted periods of above-or below-average water temperatures over the eastern Bering Sea shelf since the early 2000s. Ecosystem components, from phytoplankton to marine birds, have shown dichotomous responses to these temperature stanzas. Understanding within-stanza responses is fundamental to modelling efforts that project ecosystem responses under future climate scenarios. This study describes fish communities associated with Walleye Pollock during the age-0 period and also examines within-stanza homogeneity of assemblages. Spatial patterns of assemblage structure are compared with pre-defined ecoregions and environmental indices are assessed to determine potential mechanisms that delineate species assemblages. Walleye Pollock, rockfishes, Sand Lance, and Northern Rock Sole contributed to spring assemblages in every year. Assemblages were delineated by across-shelf gradients in 2008 and 2010 while 2009 assemblages showed less spatial structure. In summer, the diversity of fish assemblages increased across years but early-stage juvenile Walleye Pollock represented a small portion of the total abundance in 2009. Environmental gradients were related to fish assemblages, but patterns were along-shelf in 2008 and across-shelf in 2010. In fall, late-stage juvenile Walleye Pollock dominated the catch in 2008, but did not typify any assemblage in 2009. Overall, patterns of assemblage structure were not consistent with pre-defined ecoregions. Assemblage structure in 2009 was unique and indicates that within-stanza variability may complicate modelling projections based on ecosystem-level responses to climate changes.
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