Study of Larval Fish Indicate Changing Ocean Conditions, May Assist With Fishery Management
Studies supported by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science through the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) program have identified a small subset of fish species whose larvae can be monitored as indicators of ecosystem changes in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Analysis of larval fish collections made during GLOBEC field studies have found that variations in abundances of larval fish were related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), an atmospheric indicator of cool vs. warm oceanic conditions.
Cool PDO years (1999-2002) were dominated by nearshore species with northern affinities such as smelt, sanddab, and sand lance, whereas warm years (1997-1998, and 2003-2005) were dominated by offshore or more southern species such as anchovy, English sole, and rockfish.
Results are in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.