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Climate sensitivities and uncertainties in food-web pathways supporting larval bluefin tuna in subtropical oligotrophic oceans

TitleClimate sensitivities and uncertainties in food-web pathways supporting larval bluefin tuna in subtropical oligotrophic oceans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLandry MR, Beckley L.E, Muhling B.A
JournalIces Journal of Marine Science
Date Published2019/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1054-3139
Accession NumberWOS:000465099500001
Keywordscladoceran penilia-avirostris; diazotroph-derived nitrogen; diazotrophy; diet; early-life; end-to-end food web; environmental-conditions; feeding ecology; feeding preferences; Fisheries; Food; gulf-of-mexico; history; limitation; Marine & Freshwater Biology; marine cyclopoid copepod; oceanography; plankton prey; population-dynamics; southern bluefin; thunnus-thynnus larvae; Trophic position

Compared with high-latitude seas, the ecological implications of climate change for top consumers in subtropical regions are poorly understood. One critical area of knowledge deficiency is the nature of food-web connections to larvae during their vulnerable time in the plankton. Bluefin tuna (BFT) are highly migratory temperate species whose early life stages are spent in ultra-oligotrophic subtropical waters. Dietary studies of BFT larvae provide evidence of prey-limited growth coupled with strong selection for specific prey typescladocerans and poecilostomatoid copepodswhose paradoxical or poorly resolved trophic characteristics do not fit the conventional understanding of open-ocean food-web structure and flows. Current knowledge consequently leaves many uncertainties in climate change effects, including the possibility that increased nitrogen fixation by Trichodesmium spp. might enhance resiliency of BFT larvae, despite a projected overall decline in system productivity. To advance understanding and future predictions, the complementary perspectives of oceanographers and fisheries researchers need to come together in studies that focus on the trophic pathways most relevant to fish larvae, the factors that drive variability in spawning regions, and their effects on larval feeding, growth, and survival.

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