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 Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents
12.12.2017 | Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

nachricht How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas
11.12.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Protein Structure Could Unlock New Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Cardiolinc™: an NPO to personalize treatment for cardiovascular disease patients

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>