Climate-related changes in the biomass and distribution of small pelagic fishes in the eastern Bering Sea during late summer, 2002–2018
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Climate-related changes in the biomass and distribution of small pelagic fishes in the eastern Bering Sea during late summer, 2002–2018

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  • Journal Title:
    Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
  • Description:
    Climate change is altering the distribution and biomass of marine species in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. In this study, we investigate the influence of sea temperature on the annual distribution and biomass of pelagic fishes in the eastern Bering Sea during late summer, 2002–2018. The distribution (easting, northing, and area occupied) and biomass of capelin, Pacific herring, juvenile chum salmon, juvenile pink salmon, juvenile sockeye salmon, and age-0 walleye pollock collected by surface trawl were estimated using a standardized geostatistical delta-generalized linear mixed modeling approach. Species showed varied responses to warming on a temporal scale. Warming corresponded with more northerly distributions for capelin and juvenile sockeye salmon, a more westerly distribution of juvenile sockeye salmon, and range expansions for juvenile chum and sockeye salmon. Warming corresponded to a decrease in the annual biomass of capelin and an increase in the biomass of herring, age-0 pollock, and juvenile sockeye salmon. The spatio-temporal covariation in sea temperature and the distribution was nonlinear for juvenile pink salmon and age-0 pollock, positive for juvenile chum salmon and juvenile pink salmon, and negative for capelin indicating different responses of the distribution of pelagic fishes to warming in the eastern Bering Sea during late summer. In warmer areas, we found that the catch rates were higher for juvenile pink salmon, lower for capelin, and not significantly different for juvenile chum salmon, herring, age-0 pollock, and juvenile sockeye salmon. Juvenile sockeye salmon, a southerly distributed species in the survey area, appeared most responsive to warming. In this study, sockeye salmon and pollock are the most commercially important species while chum salmon are important for subsistence fishing. These temperature related changes during early life history stages for survival may have impacts on the numbers of these fishes recruiting to the fisheries.
  • Source:
    Deep–Sea Research II 181-182 (2020) 104907
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    Accepted Manuscript
  • Compliance:
    Submitted
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