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Climate modulation of fish populations: the role of the Western Mediterranean Oscillation (WeMO) in sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) production in the north-western Mediterranean

AuthorsMartín, Paloma ; Sabatés, Ana ; Lloret, Josep ; Martin-Vide, Javier
Issue DateFeb-2012
CitationClimatic Change 110 (3-4): 925-939 (2012)
AbstractThis study investigates the connections between climate fluctuations and sardine and anchovy production in the NW Mediterranean, taking the Western Mediterranean Oscillation index (WeMOi) as an indicator of climate variability. The basic working hypothesis is that sardine and anchovy productivity is influenced by the WeMOi, a proxy for the local environmental conditions such as sea surface temperature (SST) and river runoff. Sardine and anchovy landings (1974–2009) in the Catalan Coast and landings per unit of effort (LPUE) were used as proxy for recruitment. The results demonstrated a clear link between climate fluctuations and sardine and anchovy production. Positive WeMOi values were significantly correlated with low SST, high river runoff and high LPUE, that is, with better-than-average recruitment of sardine and anchovy. Conversely, negative WeMOi values were associated with high SST, low river runoff and low LPUE. During the negative WeMOi phases (such as that at the end of the analyzed period), environmental conditions are unfavourable for the overall biological productivity in the NW Mediterranean and would decrease the survival, growth, condition and reproduction of sardine and anchovy during their life cycle. Despite the evidences on the appropriateness of the NAOi as an indicator of the climate in Europe and its impact on some biological variables, we suggest that using a regional index, such as the WeMOi, can provide a more accurate representation of the environmental conditions affecting small pelagic fish production in the NW Mediterranean.
Description15 pages, 7 figures, 1 table
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0091-z
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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