Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 9051
Title: Pelagic marine refugia and climatically sensitive areas in an eastern boundary current upwelling system
Author: Caren Barceló, L. Ciannelli, Richard D. Brodeur
Publication Year: 2018
Journal: Global Change Biology
Volume: 24
Pages: 668-680
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13857

Identifying refugia, locations were taxa can persist and expand from under changing climate conditions, is important for conservation, yet few pelagic refugia have been characterized in temperate marine waters. Here we analyze data from a standardized survey of pelagic fauna off Oregon and Washington to identify such refugia. Within the surveyed region we identified a pelagic refugia zone along Washington¿s continental shelf, characterized by a species-rich assemblage with low temporal community change. This region contrasts with an adjacent area that has lower species richness, and higher temporal community change and is influenced by basin-scale fluctuations. We propose that upwelling regions that also have retentive topographic features, such as wide continental shelves, function as marine refugia for fauna, whereas offshore locations are climatically sensitive and experience high temporal change in species composition. The identification of these marine refugia and sensitive areas can help guide management in the face of inevitable change.

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management
Understand how climate influences ecosystem variability.