New Study Identifies Impacts of Ocean-Climate Variability on Biodiversity of Pelagic Forage Species in California
A new study from researchers at NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and University of California quantified biodiversity indices of pelagic forage species that are linked to ocean climate conditions. Using NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) data, the researchers calculated diversity indices of forage species and analyzed data derived from satellite observations on sea surface temperature, climate indices and oceanographic survey data to quantify the natural variability and environmental drivers of biodiversity within the California Current upwelling ecosystem.
The study found that cooler years were associated with increased biodiversity of juvenile groundfish, whereas warm years coincide with increased biodiversity of coastal and mesopelagic fishes and species from southern and subtropical waters. Further, unprecedented high biodiversity was found during the recent large marine heatwave and El Niño.
Attributing changes in marine biodiversity to productivity cycles and anomalous climate events, and detecting long-term biodiversity trends, provides a critical index toward understanding climate forcing on upwelling ecosystems.
Read the article. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 580:205-220. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12278