Navigation Links
Joint US-Norwegian study provides new insights into marine ecosystems and fisheries production

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 achieve 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.


Contact: Shelley Dawicki
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Related biology news :

1. First-ever study: lack of critical lubricant causes wear in joints
2. Monsanto expands sponsorship for Peking-Yale Joint Agrobiotechnology Center
3. Experts from Stevens, Merck, publish joint paper, Biosynthetic Studies of Platensimycin
4. Roger Kornberg to present lecture at the Joint Biophysical Society/IUPAB Meeting
5. Electronic switch opens doors in rheumatoid joints
6. Mechanisms of plant-fungi symbiosis characterized by DOE Joint Genome Institute
7. NASA presentations at American Geophysical Union Joint Assembly
8. Argonne-University of Chicago joint venture bolsters genomic sequencing capabilities
9. Researchers coat titanium with polymer to improve integration of joint replacements
10. US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute announces new genome sequencing projects
11. Low-gravity training machine reduces joint, muscle impacts, says CU-Boulder study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/21/2016)... June 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today ... role of principal product architect and that ... of customer development. Both will report directly to ... The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its ... high customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Market size is expected to reach USD ... report by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation ... and banking applications are expected to drive the ... ) , The development of ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, ... employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 ... trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which ... with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects ... the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which ... "In certain areas ... have common economic goals, why not sit down and address ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. ... years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to ... AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval of the ... Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods perform comparably ...
Breaking Biology Technology: