Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecosystem Responses to Warm Conditions in 2011/2012: Changes in Groundfish Distributions and Communities

Description

Researchers are trying to identify which groundfish species in the northwest Atlantic are vulnerable to short-term changes in their distribution in response to extreme warm events. Map: DFO

The distribution and interaction of fish communities can change dramatically in response to periods of warming, which has consequences for managing fisheries that are carried out within set geographical boundaries. Summer ocean temperatures were among the warmest on record in 2011 on the Newfoundland Shelf, and in 2012 in the Gulf of Maine, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and on the Scotian Shelf.

This project will prepare and compile the data necessary to identify which groundfish species in the northwest Atlantic are vulnerable to short-term distributional changes that could alter stock boundaries and affect community composition during extreme warm events. Focussing on the unprecedented warm temperatures of 2011 and 2012, the research will identify the factors linked to the species and locations with the strongest and weakest responses to change. The knowledge gained will ultimately inform stock assessment scientists and managers, and climate change adaptation strategies.

Program Name

Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP)

Ecoregion(s)

Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Nancy Shackell
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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