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Joint US-Norwegian study provides new insights into marine ecosystems and fisheries production
Date:9/30/2009

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 o
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Contact: Shelley Dawicki
Shelley.Dawicki@noaa.gov
508-495-2378
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Source:Eurekalert

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