Climate change, wealth, and a fishy example

IMGP0176With a great set of co-authors, including Eli Fenichel at Yale, we just published a paper in Nature Climate Change showing how to measure the impacts of climate change on wealth. Our previous work, including this, has shown how climate pushes natural resources around. In this new paper, we show that those movements change who gets access to resources, and how those movements affect wealth. As important, or even more important, than the quantity of resources, however, is the quality of a region’s resource management, existing institutions, and fishing regulations. Places with strong resource management stand to gain the most from climate-driven changes in resource distribution.

To make these points, we use a hypothetical example with two fishing ports.

This is one of the initial publications from our NSF Coastal SEES grant examining the impacts of climate change on fish and fisheries.

The paper is getting a bit of press as well:

Come see us at Ocean Sciences!

OSM_2016Nearly the whole lab and many collaborators will be at Ocean Sciences in New Orleans next week talking about our work!

 

 

Projecting the future of the ocean

It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, as the saying goes. However, there’s important science to be done trying to reduce those uncertainties for life in the ocean. We have a new paper out today in the ICES Journal of Marine Science to chart that course, from a collaboration with William Cheung and a wonderful group of colleagues in the Nereus program, “Building confidence in projections of the responses of living marine resources to climate change.”Cheungetal2015_Fig2

This figure shows three of the key sources of uncertainty in any projection, using sea surface temperature as an example: the model used to make the projection (blue), the climate change scenario followed (green), and irreducible variability in the model (orange). The graph shows how natural variability dominates over the next couple decades, but the scenario of greenhouse gas emissions is very important by the end of the century.

New paper on the interaction of fishing and climate

Fishing and climate change: two of the largest human impacts on the ocean. But how do they interact? In a new paper just out in Ecosphere, Emma Fuller, Eleanor Brush, and I use an ecological model to build some intuition. We looked specifically at how fishing affects the ability of species to shift their distributions fast enough to keep up with climate velocity. Two main take-home messages:

  1. Fishing the leading edge of a species range has the biggest impact (this also tends to be where fishing is unregulated….)
  2. Marine protected areas (MPAs) can actually make it harder for species to keep up with climate if the MPAs concentrate fishing effort in narrower areas.

Climate change and lobster on NPR

EarthWiseLogo1EarthWise, a 2-minute NPR science show, just ran a piece on climate change and lobster that featured Malin. It’s well-done, though they made a big deal about lobster moving into Canada. This sounds more dire than some research would suggest: Fogarty et al. 2007 project that Maine waters will still be good for lobster at the end of the current century. On the other hand, Vince Saba is looking at climate models that suggest much more rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine than we had previously thought, so maybe it’s not so far-fetched…

New “Fish Baste” climate and fish seminar series starting up!

We host a monthly seminar series on climate and fish, which call “Fish Baste,” designed to increase dialogue and collaboration among members of Rutgers, Princeton, U. Maine, and NOAA, as well as among researchers in ecology, social science, and climate science. Format is a short, informal talk, followed by discussion, and meetings are open to anyone.

New schedule for the year is filling up, and it looks great!fish_baste

 

Breeding like rabbits doesn’t work for fish

5720749985_a1de6b4d12_o_sm
Fast-growing fish like these sardines are more sensitive to excessive harvest than other, slower-growing species, contrary to common patterns on land. Photo credit: John Loo (CC BY 2.0). https://flic.kr/p/9HwkEr

We have a new paper out in Proceedings B, “Fishing, fast growth and climate variability increase the risk of collapse.” Analyzing data from fisheries around the world, we show that patterns in the ocean are nearly the opposite of those on land. Slow-growing species like lions and tigers may be most at risk of extinction on land, but in the ocean, it’s the “rabbits” that are most sensitive. We find that fast-growing species like flounder and sardines are more than three times more likely to collapse when they experience overfishing than their slower-growing cousins. Populations that experience strong climate variability are also more at risk.

Tim Essington also had a nice paper exploring some of these patterns among small pelagic species earlier this year. Definitely worth a read, plus the following discussion (here and here).

Some of the coverage:

Jim Morley joins the lab as a postdoc!

Jim Morley started work back in early January, but as of last week, has joined us at Rutgers. He previously finished a Ph.D. with Jeff Buckel at NC State working on bluefish, and his interests include climate change, food webs, and fisheries. He’ll be working on a research project with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council to understand whether climate variability is influencing food webs in the southeast U.S. We’re excited to have Jim join us!bluefish