Environment outweighs the effects of fishing in regulating demersal community structure in an exploited marine ecosystem
|Author(s)||Mérillet Laurene1, 2, Kopp Dorothee2, Robert Marianne2, Mouchet Maud1, Pavoine Sandrine1|
|Affiliation(s)||1 : UMR 7204 MNHN‐UPMC‐CNRS Centre d'Ecologie et de Sciences de la COnservation 43 rue BuffonCP135, 75005 Paris , France
2 : Ifremer, Unité de Sciences et Technologies halieutiques Laboratoire de Technologie et Biologie Halieutique, 8 rue François Toullec, 56100 Lorient, France
|Source||Global Change Biology (1354-1013) (Wiley), 2020-04 , Vol. 26 , N. 4 , P. 2106-2119|
|WOS© Times Cited||8|
|Keyword(s)||bottom trawl survey, Celtic Sea, fishing effort, marine resources, spatio-temporal dynamics, stability, STATICO multivariate analysis|
Global climate change has already caused bottom temperatures of coastal marine ecosystems to increase worldwide. These ecosystems face many pressures, of which fishing is one of the most important. While consequences of global warming on commercial species are studied extensively, the importance of the increase in bottom temperature and of variation in fishing effort is more rarely considered together in these exploited ecosystems. Using a 17‐year time series from an international bottom‐trawl survey, we investigated co‐variations of an entire demersal ecosystem (101 taxa) with the environment in the Celtic Sea. Our results showed that over the past two decades, biotic communities in the Celtic Sea were likely controlled more by environmental variables than fisheries, probably due to its long history of exploitation. At the scale of the entire zone, relations between taxa and the environment remained stable over the years, but at a local scale, in the center of the Celtic Sea, dynamics were driven by inter‐annual variation in temperature. Fishing was an important factor structuring species assemblages at the beginning of the time series (2000) but decreased in importance after 2009. This was most likely caused by a change in spatial distribution of fishing effort, following a change in targeted taxa from nephrops to deeper water anglerfish that did not co‐vary with fishing effort. Increasing bottom temperatures could induce additional changes in the coming years, notably in the cold‐water commercial species cod, hake, nephrops and American plaice. We showed that analyzing co‐variation is an effective way to screen a large number of taxa and highlight those that may be most susceptible to future simultaneous increases in temperature and changes in exploitation pattern by fisheries. This information can be particularly relevant for ecosystem assessments.