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

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.


abundance-occupancy relationships, commercial catchability, community ecology, exploitation, finfish, fishing, Georges Bank, habitat fragmentation, hyperstability, resilience, shellfish

Full Text

Publisher's official version
14366 Ko
Author's final draft
22624 Ko
How to cite
Frisk Michael G., Duplisea Daniel E., Trenkel Verena (2011). Exploring the abundance-occupancy relationships for the Georges Bank finfish and shellfish community from 1963 to 2006. Ecological Applications. 21 (1). 227-240. https://doi.org/10.1890/09-1698.1, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00033/14397/

Copy this text