Scientists Link Climate Change and Gray Snapper

Press Release
Friday, January 04, 2013

Models Project Northward Distribution Shifts Using Temperature, Estuarine Habitats as Key Factors.
 

NOAA scientists continue to develop and improve the approaches used to understand the effect of climate change on marine fisheries along the U.S. east coast. Their latest study projects that one common coastal species found in the southeast U.S., gray snapper, will shift northwards in response to warming coastal waters.


In a study published online December 20 in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and the University of North Florida developed projections of gray snapper distribution under several climate change scenarios. Gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) is an important fishery species along the southeast U.S. coast.


Associated with tropical reefs, mangroves and estuaries, gray snapper is found from Florida through the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of Brazil. Juvenile gray snapper have been reported as far north as Massachusetts, but adults are rarely found north of Florida, leading researchers to look at estuarine habitats as a key piece of the puzzle.


"Temperature is a major factor shaping the distribution of marine species given its influence on biological processes," said Jon Hare, lead author of the new study and director of the NEFSC’s Narragansett Laboratory in R.I. "Many fish species are expected to shift poleward or northward as a result of climate change, but we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how temperature interacts with a species life history, especially differences between juvenile and adult stages."


Hare and NOAA colleague Mark Wuenschel, a fishery biologist at the Center’s Woods Hole Laboratory, worked with Matt Kimball of the University of North Florida to project the range limits of gray snapper, also known as mangrove snapper, using coupled thermal tolerance-climate change models. Kimball also works at the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida.


Gray snapper was chosen for this study given previous temperature and physiological studies by all three authors, providing a foundation upon which to build. Hare and colleagues believe their approach applies more broadly to other fishery species that use estuarine areas during their life history. Those include a large number of commercially and recreationally important species such as summer flounder, black sea bass, weakfish and pink shrimp.


Unlike earlier studies on climate change and its impact on species like Atlantic croaker, Hare and colleagues developed a model based on a specific hypothesis that is supported by laboratory experiments and field observations. Their new study is based on laboratory research that determined the lower thermal limit, the temperature at which a fish can no longer survive. This limit is expressed as cumulative degree days below 17°C (about 63°F). The team then equated these limits to estuarine water temperatures. Prior research has shown that estuarine temperatures are closely related to air temperatures, so the team then linked the thermal limits to air temperature. Projections of coastwide air temperature were then extracted from global climate models and used to project changes in the distribution of thermal limits for juvenile gray snapper.


The researchers made climate projections for winter water and temperatures for 12 estuaries from Biscayne Bay in south Florida to northern New Jersey. Data collected in previous studies from the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve nearJacksonville, Florida, along with temperature data from the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserves in New Jersey, provided valuable background information.


The results indicate that gray snapper distribution will spread northward along the coast into the future. The magnitude of this spread is dependent on the magnitude of climate change: more CO2 emissions resulted in greater northward spread.


The uncertainty in the study’s projections was also examined by the researchers, who looked at multiple global climate models and the uncertainty in each model’s estimates of lower thermal limit. Surprisingly, biological uncertainty was the largest factor, supporting calls for more research to understand and characterize the biological effects of climate change on marine fisheries.


This latest study by Hare, Wuenschel, and Kimball joins a growing number of studies that predict climate change is going to affect marine fish distribution and abundance, creating challenges for scientists, managers, and fishers in the future.


"Further, this works supports the conclusion that along the U.S. east coast, some species will be positively affected by climate change while other species will be negatively affected." Hare said. "There will be winners and losers."

"In the past we have assumed that ecosystems were variable but not changing. Now we understand that they are both variable and changing," said Hare. "That complicates the big picture since each species and each ecosystem is different."

"The challenge facing scientists, managers, and fishers alike is identifying the potential effects of climate change and developing a response that will increase the long-term sustainability of resources," Hare said.

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

China COSCO to be First through the Expanded Panama Canal

China COSCO Shipping has won the draw for its container vessel Andronikos to make the ceremonial first transit through the Expanded Panama Canal during the waterway’s inauguration on Sunday, June 26.

Sellick Equipment to Open New Facility

On April, 20, 2016, at the young age of 97 years, Walter Sellick along with sons Howard Sellick - President, David Sellick - Vice President and grandson Colin Sellick - Systems Manager,

Asia Tankers-VLCCs Rates Ease as Tanker Jams Fade

Port congestion eases at Basra and Chinese ports; tanker demand set to expand on lower oil prices. Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs), hurt by slower-than-usual release of cargo,

Offshore

Subsea 7 Profits Dip in Q1

Subsea 7 S.A. announced its financial results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2016, reporting revenues of $746 million, down 37 percent from the prior year period.

Sembcorp Profit Halved as Clients Defer Projects

Revenue falls 30 pct; order book at S$9.7 billion. Singapore rig-builder Sembcorp Marine's quarterly profit halved as customers deferred projects, and it faces

Nigeria's LNG Export Falls

Babs Omotowa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), has raised alarm over Nigeria’s dwindling investments in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG),

Environmental

Pacific Nations Take a Stand on Shipping Emissions

On Earth Day, Pacific leaders queued among 175 countries to sign the Paris Agreement in New York. Earlier that day in London, the International Maritime Organization (IMO),

ICS Criticises 'Prestige’ Judgement by Spanish Court

At a meeting of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPCF) this week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has strongly criticised the judgement

ECSA Looks Forward to Improvement of Shipping Conditions in Arctic

European shipowners believe that the three priority areas of the new EU Arctic Policy Communication published by the Commission this week address all topical Arctic matters.

News

Mercury Marine Expands Manufacturing Capacity

Mercury Marine is adding a 53,000 square foot manufacturing capacity expansion to its global headquarters in Fond du Lac, Wisc. The expansion will consist of 45,

Conquest Installs 850t Crane on Allseas Solitaire

Conquest Offshore was contracted by Allseas to remove a 300-ton crane and transport and install a 850-ton Huisman crane on board of one of the largest pipe-lay vessels in the world, Allseas Solitaire.

MARAD: $5 Mln Available for Marine Highway Projects

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced the availability of $5 million in Federal funding to expand marine highway service by creating new or expanding

Marine Science

ICS Criticises 'Prestige’ Judgement by Spanish Court

At a meeting of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPCF) this week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has strongly criticised the judgement

Oregon State Seeks Shipyard Input for New Research Ship

Oregon State University to issue RFI on ship project after design completion   The design phase for a project to construct a new regional class research vessel

ExxonMobil, Employees Donate $45 Mln for Higher Education

ExxonMobil and its employees contributed a total of $45.4 million to institutions of higher education across the country as part of the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2015 Educational Matching Gift Program.

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1372 sec (7 req/sec)