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Is fisheries production within Large Marine Ecosystems determined by bottom-up or top-down forcing?


Mcowen, CJ and Cheung, WWL and Rykaczewski, RR and Watson, RA and Wood, LJ, Is fisheries production within Large Marine Ecosystems determined by bottom-up or top-down forcing?, Fish and Fisheries, 16, (4) pp. 623-632. ISSN 1467-2960 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/faf.12082


Understanding the mechanisms driving fisheries production is essential if we are to accurately predict changes under climate change and exploit fish stocks in a sustainable manner. Traditionally, studies have sought to distinguish between the two most prominent drivers, ‘bottom-up’ (resource driven) and ‘top-down’ (consumer driven); however, this dichotomy is increasingly proving to be artificial as the relative importance of each mechanism has been shown to vary through space and time. Nevertheless, the reason why one predominates over another within a region remains largely unknown. To address this gap in understanding, we identified the dominant driver of commercial landings within 47 ecosystems, encompassing a wide range of biogeochemical conditions and fishing practices to elucidate general patterns. We show that bottom-up and top-down effects vary consistently with past fishing pressure and oceanographic conditions; bottom-up control predominates within productive, overfished regions and top-down in relatively unproductive and under-exploited areas. We attribute these findings to differences in the species composition and oceanographic properties of regions, together with variation in fishing practices and (indicative) management effectiveness. Collectively, our analyses suggest that despite the complexity of ecological systems, it is possible to elucidate a number of generalities. Such knowledge could be used to increase the parsimony of ecosystem models and to move a step forward in predicting how the global ocean, particularly fisheries productivity, will respond to climate change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bottom-up, climate forcing, fisheries production, fishing effort, Large Marine Ecosystem, top-down
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Watson, RA (Professor Reginald Watson)
ID Code:104806
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP140101377)
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-11-20
Last Modified:2017-11-04

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