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 Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

LNG America Selects Topside Designer for LNG Bunker Barge

LNG America has selected Taylor-Wharton to commence the front-end engineering and design work for the cryogenic topside of the company’s 3,000 cubic meter Gemini

MN 100: BAE Systems Ship Repair

750 W. Berkley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23523 Tel: (757) 494-4674  Email: john.measell@baesystems.com Website: www.baesystems.com/shiprepair President: William Clifford The Company: BAE Systems,

Signet Tows Aircraft Carrier on Final Voyage

The final voyage of aircraft carrier USS Saratoga begins today. From the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere, the USS Saratoga has made her mark around the globe,

Offshore

Coast Guard Medevacs Seafarer From Tanker off Galveston

A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced a 32-year-old crewmember off an Italian-flagged tanker Wednesday, after he suffered an injury from a snapped fender

USCG Rescue Fisherman from Western Lake Erie

The Coast Guard rescued a fisherman from western Lake Erie after he launched an emergency distress flare Wednesday afternoon, near South Bass Island, Ohio. The

Chariot Agrees Brazil Farm Out with AziLat

Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Atlantic margins focused oil and gas exploration company, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Chariot Brasil Petróleo e Gás Ltda.

Environmental

Revision Proposed for Fishing Vessel Cargo Regs

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) proposed revisions to its regulations for commercial fishing vessels carrying flammable or combustible liquid cargos in bulk. The

Foster Wheeler to Supply Heat Recovery Steam Generator In Mexico

Foster Wheeler AG (Nasdaq:FWLT) announced today that a subsidiary of its Global Power Group has been awarded a contract by Iberdrola, for the design and supply

Hiab to Present Sustainable Technology Load Handling at Elmia Lastbil Fair

Hiab, part of Cargotec, will showcase its latest sustainable technology of load handling at the Elmia Lastbil fair in Sweden. The presented products include

News

LNG America Selects Topside Designer for LNG Bunker Barge

LNG America has selected Taylor-Wharton to commence the front-end engineering and design work for the cryogenic topside of the company’s 3,000 cubic meter Gemini

The World's Most Expensive Jones Act Tanker

The series highlighting the world's most expensive active vessels from online ship intelligence and information service VesselsValue.com focuses this week on the most expensive tanker vessel,

Signet Tows Aircraft Carrier on Final Voyage

The final voyage of aircraft carrier USS Saratoga begins today. From the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere, the USS Saratoga has made her mark around the globe,

Marine Science

Storm near Lesser Antilles Could Develop into cyclone

An elongated area of low pressure located about 350 miles east of the Lesser Antilles has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.

Two-way Route in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait

The IMO-adopted ship routeing measure to enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation and protect the region’s sensitive marine environment will come into

Mærsk Putting Valuable Experience to Good Use

The Mærsk Deliverer rig team has initiated seven local acceleration programmes in Angola. The goal is to train and develop local talent to take on increasingly

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.1981 sec (5 req/sec)