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Physical forcing on fish abundance in the southern California Current System

TitlePhysical forcing on fish abundance in the southern California Current System
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSiegelman-Charbit L., Koslow JA, Jacox M.G, Hazen E.L, Bograd SJ, Miller E.F
JournalFisheries Oceanography
Date Published2018/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1054-6006
Accession NumberWOS:000440920600007
Keywordsanalysis; CalCOFI; california current system; circulation; climate-change; community; empirical orthogonal function; Fish communities; Fisheries; ichthyoplankton; north pacific; ocean; oceanography; physical oceanography; regime shifts; transports; variability; water; Zooplankton

The California Current System (CCS) is an eastern boundary current system with strong biological productivity largely due to seasonal wind-driven upwelling and transport of the California Current (CC). Two independent, yet complementary time series, CalCOFI ichthyoplankton surveys and sampling of southern California power plant cooling-water intakes, have indicated that an assemblage of predominantly cool-water affinity fishes spanning nearshore to oceanic environments in the southern CCS has declined dramatically from the 1970s to the 2000s. We examined potential oceanographic drivers behind this decline both within and north of the CalCOFI survey area in order to capture upstream processes as well. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analyses using output from a data-assimilative regional ocean model revealed significant relationships between the fish time series and spatial patterns of upwelling, upper ocean heat content and eddy kinetic energy in the CCS. Correlation and linear regression analyses indicated that the declining trend in fish abundance was correlated with a suite of factors: reduced offshore and increased inshore upwelling; a long term warming trend combined with more recent interannual variability in ocean temperature; weaker eddy kinetic energy north of Point Conception (35 degrees N), potentially indicating reduced transport of the California Current (CC); increased influence of the California Undercurrent (CUC); and a decline in zooplankton displacement volume across the southern CCS. Understanding how changes in oceanography affect fish populations will offer insights into managing fisheries in a changing climate.

Short TitleFish Oceanogr.
Student Publication: