Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gulf of Mexico marine food web changes over the decades

18.03.2015

New NOAA study finds natural climate cycles and human activities are drivers of change

Scientists in the Gulf of Mexico now have a better understanding of how naturally-occurring climate cycles--as well as human activities--can trigger widespread ecosystem changes that ripple through the Gulf food web and the communities dependent on it, thanks to a new study published Saturday in the journal Global Change Biology.


This image shows fish species in NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, off Texas.

Credit: NOAA

A team of NOAA scientists spent three years reviewing over 100 indicators derived from environmental, fishery, and economic data, including sea surface temperature, currents, atmospheric patterns, fishing effort, harvest, and revenues. Through extensive analysis, they found a major ecosystem reorganization that appeared to be timed with a naturally-occurring climate shift that occurred around 1995.

The climate phenomenon is known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a climate signal in the North Atlantic Ocean that switches between cool and warm phases, each lasting for 20-40 years at a time.

The AMO, which was in a cool phase between 1965 until 1995 and has been in a warm phase since, influences global ocean and weather conditions in the northern hemisphere such as hurricane activity in the Atlantic ocean and the severity and frequency of droughts.

However, the AMO is not as extensively studied as other climate phenomena, such as El Nino, and this study is the first to investigate what scientists hope will be many future studies examining how the AMO influences ecosystem-scale change in the Gulf.

Scientists hope this work will spur interest in further studying this phenomenon and its implications for the marine environment in this region.

"These major ecosystem shifts have probably gone unrecognized to date because they are not apparent when considering single species or individual components of the ecosystem," said lead investigator Dr. Mandy Karnauskas of NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center.

"Only when we put a lot of things together -- including currents, hypoxia, fish abundances, fishing effort, and more -- does a strong climate signal emerge."

Additionally, scientists observed shifts in many species around the late 1970s coincident with the advent of the U.S. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act- a policy designed to set rules for international fishing in U.S. waters, make the expansion of certain fisheries more favorable for economic development, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the nation's fish stocks.

Other human influences that are not as pronounced--or easily distinguishable--include coastal development, agricultural runoff, oil spills, and fishing. Natural phenomena like coastal storms and hurricanes play a role as well.

The scientists expect their study to be useful to resource managers throughout the Gulf region. While managers cannot control Earth's natural climate cycles, they may need to consider how to alter management strategies in light of them, in order to effectively meet their mandates.

###

Karnauskas' team included other scientists from NOAA Fisheries as well as NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, the University of Miami, and the University of Texas.

The full study, Evidence of climate-driven ecosystem reorganization in the Gulf of Mexico, is now available on line: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12894/abstract

Media Contact

John Ewald
john.ewald@noaa.gov
240-429-6127

 @NOAA

www.noaa.gov

John Ewald | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New plate adds plot twist to ancient tectonic tale
15.08.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Global warming will leave different fingerprints on global subtropical anticyclones
14.08.2017 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>