Decline of cold-water fish species in the Bay of Somme (English Channel, France) in response to ocean warming

Last modified: 
December 6, 2017 - 4:56pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: Jan-04-2017
Authors: Arnaud Auber, Francis Gohin, Nicolas Goascoz, Ivan Schlaich
Journal title: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume: 189
Pages: 189 - 202
ISSN: 02727714

A growing number of studies have documented increasing dominance of warm-water fish species (“tropicalisation”) in response to ocean warming. Such reorganization of communities is starting to occur in a multitude of local ecosystems, implying that tropicalisation of marine communities could become a global phenomenon. Using 32 years of trawl surveys in the Bay of Somme (English Channel, France), we aimed to investigate the existence of a tropicalisation in the fish community at the local scale of the estuary during the mid-1990s, a period where an exceptional temperature rise occurred in Northeast Atlantic. A long-term response occurred (with a major transition over 6 years) that was characterized by a marked diminution in the abundance of cold-water species in parallel to a temperature rise generated by the ocean-scale phenomenon, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which switched from a cool to a warm phase during the late 1990s. Despite finding no significant increase in the dominance of warm-water species, the long-term diminution of cold-water species suggests that the restructuring of the fish community was mainly influenced by global-scale environmental conditions rather than local ones and that indirect effects may also occurred through biological interactions.

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