Climate change and deepening of the North Sea fish assemblage:A biotic indicator of warming seas

Dulvy, Nicholas K., Rogers, Stuart I., Jennings, Simon ORCID:, Stelzenmüller, Vanessa, Dye, Stephen ORCID: and Skjoldal, Hein R. (2008) Climate change and deepening of the North Sea fish assemblage:A biotic indicator of warming seas. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45 (4). pp. 1029-1039. ISSN 0021-8901

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1. Climate change impacts have been observed on individual species and species subsets; however, it remains to be seen whether there are systematic, coherent assemblage-wide responses to climate change that could be used as a representative indicator of changing biological state. 2. European shelf seas are warming faster than the adjacent land masses and faster than the global average. We explore the year-by-year distributional response of North Sea bottom-dwelling (demersal) fishes to temperature change over the 25 years from 1980 to 2004. The centres of latitudinal and depth distributions of 28 fishes were estimated from species-abundance-location data collected on an annual fish monitoring survey. 3. Individual species responses were aggregated into 19 assemblages reflecting physiology (thermal preference and range), ecology (body size and abundance-occupancy patterns), biogeography (northern, southern and presence of range boundaries), and susceptibility to human impact (fishery target, bycatch and non-target species). 4. North Sea winter bottom temperature has increased by 1.6°C over 25 years, with a 1°C increase in 1988-1989 alone. During this period, the whole demersal fish assemblage deepened by ∼3.6 m decade and the deepening was coherent for most assemblages. 5. The latitudinal response to warming was heterogeneous, and reflects (i) a northward shift in the mean latitude of abundant, widespread thermal specialists, and (ii) the southward shift of relatively small, abundant southerly species with limited occupancy and a northern range boundary in the North Sea. 6. Synthesis and applications. The deepening of North Sea bottom-dwelling fishes in response to climate change is the marine analogue of the upward movement of terrestrial species to higher altitudes. The assemblage-level depth responses, and both latitudinal responses, covary with temperature and environmental variability in a manner diagnostic of a climate change impact. The deepening of the demersal fish assemblage in response to temperature could be used as a biotic indicator of the effects of climate change in the North Sea and other semi-enclosed seas.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change,habitat loss,invasive species,life-history trait,north sea,regime shift,thermal preference,sdg 13 - climate action,sdg 14 - life below water ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2014 11:30
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 06:03
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01488.x

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