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Integrating habitat, prey and predators over space and time to assess distributional responses to environmental variability and climate change

Released: 2015
Citation:
Barceló, C, C Coleman, B Wright, R Brown, J Adams, LT Balance, R Brodeur, LG Torres. 2015. Integrating habitat, prey and predators over space and time to assess distributional responses to environmental variability and climate change. 23rd Biennial Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Conference, 8-12 November 2015. [presentation]

We take advantage of a pelagic fish survey dataset and multiple California sea lion observation and tracking datasets to assess the spatio-temporal dynamics of predators and their prey relative to changing oceanographic conditions in the Northern California Current region over the past decade. We generate species distribution models for forage fish species (herring, mackerel and sardine) off the Oregon and Washington coasts using both fine-scale remotely sensed oceanographic data as well as forecasted climate change scenarios. Preliminary prey models demonstrate distinct habitat and distributional patterns between fish species. For example, herring are more abundant along the inner shelf and mackerel show increased abundances offshore. We couple and compare these prey species distribution models with distribution models of California sea lions in the same region to describe the spatial overlap and spatial shifts of predator and prey model predictions under various environmental scenarios (average conditions, El Niño/La Niña years, and forecasted climate change). This research integrates habitat, prey and predators over space and time, to lay the groundwork for integrated ecosystem models between predators and prey species. Our results can be used to assess food web impacts caused simultaneously by the permeating effects of climate change and cyclical environmental conditions to help inform management strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

 



This product is associated with the following project:
Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA)

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