Exploring the abundance-occupancy relationships for the Georges Bank finfish and shellfish community from 1963 to 2006

Type Article
Date 2011-01
Language English
Author(s) Frisk Michael G.1, Duplisea Daniel E.2, Trenkel VerenaORCID3
Affiliation(s) 1 : SUNY Stony Brook, Sch Marine & Atmospher Sci, Stony Brook, NY 11794 USA.
2 : Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Maurice Lamontagne Inst, Mont Joli, PQ G5H 3Z4, Canada.
3 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer IFREMER, F-44311 Nantes 03, France.
Source Ecological Applications (1051-0761) (Ecological Soc Amer), 2011-01 , Vol. 21 , N. 1 , P. 227-240
DOI 10.1890/09-1698.1
WOS© Times Cited 21
Keyword(s) abundance-occupancy relationships, commercial catchability, community ecology, exploitation, finfish, fishing, Georges Bank, habitat fragmentation, hyperstability, resilience, shellfish
Abstract Abundance-occupancy (A-O) patterns were explored temporally and spatially for the Georges Bank finfish and shellfish community to evaluate long-term trends in the assemblage structure and to identify anthropogenic and environmental drivers impacting the ecosystem. Analyses were conducted for 32 species representing the assemblage from 1963 to 2006 using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service's annual autumn bottom trawl survey. For individual species, occupancy was considered the proportion of stations with at least one individual present, and abundance was estimated as the mean annual number of fish captured per station. Intraspecific relationships were estimated to provide information on utilization of space by a species. Multispecies interspecific relationships over all species for each year were fitted to estimate assemblage structural changes over the time series. Results indicated that the slopes and strengths of interspecific A-O relationships significantly declined over the duration of the time series, and this decline was significantly related to groundfish landings. However, the rate of decline was not constant, and a breakpoint analysis of interspecific slopes indicated that 1973 was a period of "state'' change. More importantly a jackknife-after-bootstrap analysis indicated that the early 1970s followed by the 1990s were periods of higher than average probability of significant break points. While it is difficult to determine causation, the results suggest that long-term impacts such as habitat fragmentation may be influencing the species assemblage structure in the Georges Bank ecosystem. Further, we used slopes from the intraspecific A-O relationships to derive a measure of a species' potential risk of hyperstability, where catch rates remain high as the population declines. Combining this measure of the risk of hyperstability with resilience to exploitation provided a means to rank species risk of decline due to both demographics and the interaction of the behaviors of the species and fishing fleets.
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