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A Vulnerability Assessment of Fish and Invertebrates to Climate Change on the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf

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Climate change and decadal variability are impacting marine fish and invertebrate species worldwide and these impacts will continue for the foreseeable future. Quantitative approaches have been developed to examine climate impacts on productivity, abundance, and distribution of various marine fish and invertebrate species. However, it is difficult to apply these approaches to large numbers of species owing to the lack of mechanistic understanding sufficient for quantitative analyses, as well as the lack of scientific infrastructure to support these more detailed studies. Vulnerability assessments provide a framework for evaluating climate impacts over a broad range of species with existing information. These methods combine the exposure of a species to a stressor (climate change and decadal variability) and the sensitivity of species to the stressor. These two components are then combined to estimate an overall vulnerability. Quantitative data are used when available, but qualitative information and expert opinion are used when quantitative data is lacking. Here we conduct a climate vulnerability assessment on 82 fish and invertebrate species in the Northeast U.S. Shelf including exploited, forage, and protected species. We define climate vulnerability as the extent to which abundance or productivity of a species in the region could be impacted by climate change and decadal variability. We find that the overall climate vulnerability is high to very high for approximately half the species assessed; diadromous and benthic invertebrate species exhibit the greatest vulnerability. In addition, the majority of species included in the assessment have a high potential for a change in distribution in response to projected changes in climate. Negative effects of climate change are expected for approximately half of the species assessed, but some species are expected to be positively affected (e.g., increase in productivity or move into the region). These results will inform research and management activities related to understanding and adapting marine fisheries management and conservation to climate change and decadal variability.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
A Vulnerability Assessment of Fish and
Invertebrates to Climate Change on the
Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf
Jonathan A. Hare
1
*, Wendy E. Morrison
2
, Mark W. Nelson
2
, Megan M. Stachura
3¤a
, Eric
J. Teeters
2
, Roger B. Griffis
4
, Michael A. Alexander
5
, James D. Scott
5
, Larry Alade
6
,
Richard J. Bell
1¤b
, Antonie S. Chute
6
, Kiersten L. Curti
6
, Tobey H. Curtis
7
, Daniel Kircheis
8
,
John F. Kocik
8
, Sean M. Lucey
6
, Camilla T. McCandless
1
, Lisa M. Milke
9
, David
E. Richardson
1
, Eric Robillard
6
, Harvey J. Walsh
1
, M. Conor McManus
10¤c
, Katrin
E. Marancik
10
, Carolyn A. Griswold
1
1NOAA NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory, 28 Tarzwell Drive,
Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02818, United States of America, 2Earth Resources Technology, Inc. Under
contract for NOAA NMFS, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland
20910, United States of America, 3NOAA NMFS, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 East West Highway,
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, United States of America, 4NOAA NMFS, Office of Science and Technology,
1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, United States of America, 5NOAA OAR Earth
Systems Research Laboratory, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 803053337, United States of America,
6NOAA NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole Laboratory, 166 Water Street, Woods
Hole, Massachusetts 02543, United States of America, 7NOAA NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries
Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 01930, United States of America, 8NOAA
NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Maine Field Station, 17 Godfrey Drive-Suite 1, Orono, Maine
04473, United States of America, 9NOAA NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Milford Laboratory,
212 Rogers Ave, Milford, Connecticut 06460, United States of America, 10 Integrated Statistics Under
contract for NOAA NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory, 28 Tarzwell Drive,
Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02818, United States of America
¤a Current address: ECS Federal, Inc., Under contract to the NOAA NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science
Center, 2725 Montlake Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112, United States of America
¤b Current address: The Nature Conservancy, University of Rhode Island Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI
02882, United States of America
¤c Current address: Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 215 S Ferry Rd,
Narragansett, RI 02882, United States of America
*jon.hare@noaa.gov
Abstract
Climate change and decadal variability are impacting marine fish and invertebrate species
worldwide and these impacts will continue for the foreseeable future. Quantitative
approaches have been developed to examine climate impacts on productivity, abundance,
and distribution of various marine fish and invertebrate species. However, it is difficult to
apply these approaches to large numbers of species owing to the lack of mechanistic under-
standing sufficient for quantitative analyses, as well as the lack of scientific infrastructure to
support these more detailed studies. Vulnerability assessments provide a framework for
evaluating climate impacts over a broad range of species with existing information. These
methods combine the exposure of a species to a stressor (climate change and decadal vari-
ability) and the sensitivity of species to the stressor. These two components are then com-
bined to estimate an overall vulnerability. Quantitative data are used when available, but
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756 February 3, 2016 1/30
OPEN ACCESS
Citation: Hare JA, Morrison WE, Nelson MW,
Stachura MM, Teeters EJ, Griffis RB, et al. (2016) A
Vulnerability Assessment of Fish and Invertebrates to
Climate Change on the Northeast U.S. Continental
Shelf. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0146756. doi:10.1371/
journal.pone.0146756
Editor: Jan Geert Hiddink, Bangor University,
UNITED KINGDOM
Received: August 27, 2015
Accepted: December 20, 2015
Published: February 3, 2016
Copyright: This is an open access article, free of all
copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used
by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made
available under the Creative Commons CC0 public
domain dedication.
Data Availability Statement: All relevant data is
available in the paper and its Supporting Information
files.
Funding: Funding for this project was provided by
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) NMFS Office of Science and Technology,
NOAA NMFS Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA
OAR Earth System Laboratory, NOAA NMFS Greater
Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, NOAA NMFS
Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and the NOAA
Ocean Acidification Program. The funders had no
qualitative information and expert opinion are used when quantitative data is lacking. Here
we conduct a climate vulnerability assessment on 82 fish and invertebrate species in the
Northeast U.S. Shelf including exploited, forage, and protected species. We define climate
vulnerability as the extent to which abundance or productivity of a species in the region
could be impacted by climate change and decadal variability. We find that the overall cli-
mate vulnerability is high to very high for approximately half the species assessed; diadro-
mous and benthic invertebrate species exhibit the greatest vulnerability. In addition, the
majority of species included in the assessment have a high potential for a change in distribu-
tion in response to projected changes in climate. Negative effects of climate change are
expected for approximately half of the species assessed, but some species are expected to
be positively affected (e.g., increase in productivity or move into the region). These results
will inform research and management activities related to understanding and adapting
marine fisheries management and conservation to climate change and decadal variability.
Introduction
Marine fish and invertebrate species are impacted by climate change and decadal variability. A
classic example is the historical oscillation between Pacific Sardine and Northern Anchovy
populations in the California Current, which occurred before recorded human exploitation
began [1]. More recently, changes in marine species distribution and population productivity
have been linked to changes in the climate [25]. Changes have also been documented in the
distribution of fishery landings and potentially the distribution and magnitude of fishing effort
[6,7]. Although fishing remains an important, and in many cases, dominant driver of popula-
tion abundance, there is now substantial evidence that climate change and decadal variability
affect fish and invertebrate populations [810].
An increasing number of studies are linking population models to climate models and pro-
jecting the effect of future climate change on marine fish and invertebrate species [1116].
These studies develop either a process-based or empirical relationship between climate vari-
ables and population parameters. Projections of the climate factor from climate models are
then used to force the population model into the future [17]. In general, these studies show
that climate change will continue to impact species and the ecosystem services they provide
(e.g., fisheries, forage, [18]) for the foreseeable future (decades to centuries). For many regions,
developing a mechanistic model for each species is not possible in the short-term because of
the limited personnel and scientific resources, the lack of mechanistic models linking climate
to population dynamics, and the large number of managed species. Global and regional species
distribution models have been linked to climate projections to project changes in available hab-
itat and resulting distribution shifts [19,20]. These studies typically do not focus on providing
species-specific information that can be used by regional fisheries managers.
Trait-based climate change vulnerability assessments provide another method to evaluate
the potential risks to species posed by climate change [2123]. In general, vulnerability assess-
ments are a formal approach for identifying and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in a system [22,
23]. They often involve expert elicitation to estimate the general sensitivities of species to a
stressor. The approach fills the need for broad, transparent, relatively quick evaluation of the
vulnerability of multiple species. Vulnerability assessments have been used to evaluate the risk
of overfishing for species within given regions [24,25] and are increasingly being used to evalu-
ate the vulnerabilities of marine species to climate change [2631].
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756 February 3, 2016 2/30
role in study design, data collection and analysis,
decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared
that no competing interests exist.
There are many forms, but in general, trait-based vulnerability assessments identify: i) envi-
ronmental variables expected to change that could impact species (termed exposure factors)
and ii) sensitivity attributes that predict a species intrinsic resilience to change [21,22,29,32].
Some vulnerability assessments separate sensitivity into two components: adaptive capacity
and sensitivity [33], but we choose to combine adaptive capacity attributes with sensitivity
attributes [34]. Specifically for climate vulnerability, exposure factors include climate variables
that have the potential to affect productivity or distribution of a species (or population) in a
specific region. For example, temperature is a climate factor that affects species via multiple
mechanisms from enzyme reactions to feeding rate to seasonal distribution [35]. Species sensi-
tivity attributes include biological or ecological variables that predict the vulnerability to cli-
mate change. For example, a species with an inherently low maximum per capita population
growth rate is more sensitive to changes in climate compared to species with an inherently
high maximum per capita population growth rate. The exposure factors and sensitivity attri-
butes are scored for each species based on a pre-defined scoring system. These scores are com-
bined across exposure factors and sensitivity attributes to derive a relative species-specific
climate vulnerability score. While these methods have limitations, the framework allows a
diverse set of species to be assessed in a relatively short period of time, and provides a founda-
tion for further research and management responses [21].
Our objective was to conduct a climate vulnerability assessment for fish and invertebrate
species in the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (hereafter Northeast
U.S. Shelf) using the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Climate Vulnerability Assess-
ment Methodology [34]. We use climate projections between 20052055 to evaluate climate
change and decadal variability in the 2040 year time frame. Separating anthropogenic climate
change from natural decadal variability is difficult [36] and although we use climate change
throughout most of this paper, it is important to recognize that the signals of both change and
variability are included in the projections. We define vulnerability as a change in a speciespro-
ductivity and or abundance associated with a changing climate, including both climate change
and decadal climate variability. We also evaluate the potential for a change in distribution and
estimate the directional effect (positive or negative) of a changing climate on species in the
Northeast U.S. Shelf. This ecosystem supports valuable commercial ($1.6 billion from landings
in 2013 [37]) and recreational ($14.8 billion in total angler expenditures [38]) fisheries. The
region is also experiencing relatively rapid climate change [39]. Numerous studies have linked
recent climate change to changes in the regions fish and invertebrate populations, including
changes in productivity [4,8] and distribution [4043]. Of the numerous fishery species in the
region, climate variables have only been directly incorporated into scientific advice and man-
agement in a few cases [44,45]. Although this species-by-species approach is necessary, scien-
tists and managers alike need a broad perspective within which to set research priorities and
frame management decisions. Our purpose in conducting this vulnerability assessment is to
provide such a system-wide perspective for the Northeast U.S. Shelf.
Materials and Methods
The methods used here, and the development and rationale behind them, are fully described in
the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology
[34] (see Fig 1). The steps are: 1) scoping and planning the assessment including i) identifying
the spatial region, ii) the species to include, iii) the climate variables to include as exposure fac-
tors, iv) the biological and ecological traits to include as sensitivity attributes, and v) recruiting
experts to participate in the assessment; 2) preparation of materials for the assessment includ-
ing i) consolidating available information on each species, ii) obtaining information on the
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
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Fig 1. 4 Steps used in the Northeast Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment. For more details see
the NMFS Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology [34].
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756.g001
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
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future state of exposure factors, and iii) providing the spatial overlap between climate exposure
and species distributions in the region; 3) expert scoring of the different components of the
assessment including i) climate exposure scoring, ii) sensitivity attribute scoring, iii) quantify-
ing expert certainty in scoring, iv) scoring the directional effect of climate change on a species
in the region, and v) scoring the quality of data used in the assessment; and 4) analyses of the
scores including i) estimating overall climate vulnerability, ii) estimating the potential for a dis-
tribution change using a subset of sensitivity attributes, iii) estimating certainty in overall cli-
mate vulnerability, potential for a distribution change, and the directional effect of climate
change using bootstrapping; iv) identifying the importance of each exposure factor and sensi-
tivity attribute to the overall climate vulnerability using a leave-one out sensitivity analysis, v)
evaluating the results on a functional group basis, and vi) developing species specific narratives
that summarize the results for each species.
Scoping and Planning
Study Area. The study area was the Northeast U.S. Shelf, which ranges from Cape Hat-
teras, North Carolina through the Gulf of Maine (Fig 2). The focus was on species that occur in
marine waters of the Northeast U.S. Shelf, but a number of these species use freshwater, estuar-
ies, and offshore areas during some portion of their life history [46]. Thus the study area
included freshwater systems, as well as the shelf and oceanic waters.
Species Included. The focus of the vulnerability assessment was on marine fish and inver-
tebrate species that commonly occur in the Northeast U.S. Shelf, including exploited species
Fig 2. Map of Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756.g002
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
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(e.g., Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Sea Scallop), protected species (e.g., Atlantic Salmon), and ecolog-
ically important species (e.g., Sand Lances). The exploited species included federally and state
managed species, as well as species that are not currently managed but are harvested in the
region. Federal commercial and recreational landings were evaluated in developing the list of
species. Protected fish species were also assessed including fish species listed under the Endan-
gered Species Act [47] and species considered as Species of Concern by NMFS [48]. Several
ecologically important forage fish species were included based on species identified as forage
by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council [49]. Highly migratory species were gener-
ally excluded because much of their life cycle is completed outside the study area. In total, 82
species were included and divided into 6 functional groups: Coastal Fish (n = 14), Diadromous
Fish (n = 10), Elasmobranchs (n = 12), Groundfish (n = 19), Benthic Invertebrates (n = 18),
and Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods (n = 9) (Table 1). These functional groups were based in
part on phylogeny and in part on habitats occupied.
Climate Exposure Factors. Exposure is a measure of the projected magnitude of change
in the physical environment due to climate [23,29]. Exposure factors are those climate vari-
ables included in the assessment that could impact a species (e.g., temperature, salinity). The
exposure score includes information about the magnitude of the expected climate change, but
not in relation to each speciestolerances, which are often unknown. Exposure factors were
chosen based on two criteria. First, factors were chosen on the basis that studies have found an
effect on fish and invertebrate species in the Northeast U.S. Shelf. Second, factors were chosen
that are likely to be well represented in the current class of global climate models (models are
described below) [17]. Seven factors were selected: ocean surface temperature (upper 10 m),
ocean surface salinity (upper 10 m), surface air temperature, precipitation, surface pH (upper
10 m), currents, and sea-level rise. Bottom estimates were not used owing to the low spatial res-
olution of current climate models and the fact that most of the models used do not resolve the
bathymetry of the Northeast U.S. Shelf. Similarly, primary productivity was not used because
of the importance of regional-scale oceanography and estuaries, neither of which are resolved
in the current ensemble of current global climate models. All factors were equally weighted
owing to the limited knowledge regarding the magnitude of effects and species responses to cli-
mate. Changes in the mean and variance of ocean temperature, ocean salinity, air temperature,
precipitation, and pH were included, whereas only changes in mean sea level and ocean cur-
rents were considered resulting in a total of 12 climate exposure factors (Table 2). Ocean tem-
perature is an important climate factor, which numerous studies have linked to changes in
distribution and productivity [4,41,42,50]. Fewer studies have linked changes in ocean salinity
to biological responses, but changes in salinity may increase metabolic costs [51], reducing
resilience to other changes. Salinity also affects stratification, mixing, and thus the timing and
magnitude of primary production [52]. Most climate models are at a scale where water temper-
atures in estuaries and freshwater areas are not resolved, so air temperature is used as a proxy
[14,53], as it is directly linked to the temperature in shallow water owing to air-water heat
exchange [4]. Air temperature and surface ocean temperature are likely correlated because of
the large-scale of climate induced warming, but the two factors are important and distinct in
terms of their impact on the biology of some species (e.g., Atlantic Salmon are exposed to cli-
mate impacts both in freshwater and marine habitats). Streamflow is linked to productivity of a
number of diadromous species [54,55]. Most climate models do not simulate streamflow,
rather they have river routing systems that move water among model grid cells. Precipitation is
therefore used here as a proxy of the amount of water in streams and rivers. Numerous studies
have found an effect of increased dissolved CO
2
(ocean acidification) on marine organisms
from larval survival in molluscs to olfaction in fish [56,57]. Estimates of pH were derived from
Earth Systems Models, which simulate the carbon system to varying degrees of complexity.
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
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Table 1. Species included in the Northeast Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment. Assigned functional group, common name, and scientific
name of the 82 fish and invertebrate species included in the Northeast Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment.
Group Common Name Scientic Name
Coastal Fish Atlantic Croaker Micropogonias undulates
Coastal Fish Atlantic Menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus
Coastal Fish Black Sea Bass Centropristis striata
Coastal Fish Northern Kingsh Menticirrhus saxatilis
Coastal Fish Red Drum Sciaenops ocellatus
Coastal Fish Scup Stenotomus chrysops
Coastal Fish Spanish Mackerel Scomberomorus maculatus
Coastal Fish Spot Leiostomus xanthurus
Coastal Fish Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus
Coastal Fish Striped Bass Morone saxatilis
Coastal Fish Summer Flounder Paralichthys dentatus
Coastal Fish Tautog Tautoga onitis
Coastal Fish Weaksh Cynoscion regalis
Coastal Fish Winter Flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus
Diadromous Fish Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus
Diadromous Fish Conger Eel Anguilla oceanica
Diadromous Fish American Eel Anguilla rostrata
Diadromous Fish American Shad Alosa sapidissima
Diadromous Fish Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar
Diadromous Fish Atlantic Sturgeon Acipenser oxyrhynchus
Diadromous Fish Blueback Herring Alosa aestivalis
Diadromous Fish Hickory Shad Alosa mediocris
Diadromous Fish Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax
Diadromous Fish Shortnose Sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum
Elasmobranchs Barndoor Skate Dipturus laevis
Elasmobranchs Clearnose Skate Raja eglanteria
Elasmobranchs Dusky Shark Carcharhinus obscurus
Elasmobranchs Little Skate Leucoraja erinacea
Elasmobranchs Porbeagle Lamna nasus
Elasmobranchs Rosette Skate Leucoraja garmani
Elasmobranchs Sand Tiger Carcharias taurus
Elasmobranchs Smooth Dogsh Mustelus canis
Elasmobranchs Smooth Skate Malacoraja senta
Elasmobranchs Spiny Dogsh Squalus acanthias
Elasmobranchs Thorny Skate Amblyraja radiata
Elasmobranchs Winter Skate Leucoraja ocellata
Groundsh Acadian Redsh Sebastes fasciatus
Groundsh American Plaice Hippoglossoides platessoides
Groundsh Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua
Groundsh Atlantic Hagsh Myxine glutinosa
Groundsh Atlantic Halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus
Groundsh Atlantic Wolfsh Anarhichas lupus
Groundsh Cusk Brosme brosme
Groundsh Haddock Melanogrammus aeglenus
Groundsh Monksh (Goosesh) Lophius americanus
Groundsh Ocean Pout Zoarces americanus
(Continued)
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
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Ocean currents were also used as a factor since most marine organisms have planktonic early life
stages that rely on advection for transport to habitats necessary for the continuation of the life
cycle [58]. Small-scale changes in currents cannot be assessed from the current global climate
models, but changes in large scale changes can be considered. Sea-level rise threatens a variety of
coastal habitats including marshes, seagrass beds, and beaches [59,60]. This threat is exacerbated
by the large degree of coastal development in the Northeast U.S. Shelf [61] and the large reliance
of fish and invertebrate species on coastal habitats during portions of their life history [46].
Sensitivity Attributes. Sensitivity attributes represent biological traits that are indicative
of an ability or inability of a species to respond to environmental change. All 12 attributes
Table 1. (Continued)
Group Common Name Scientic Name
Groundsh Offshore Hake Merluccius albidus
Groundsh Pollock Pollachius virens
Groundsh Red Hake Urophycis chuss
Groundsh Silver Hake Merluccius bilinearis
Groundsh Tilesh Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps
Groundsh White Hake Urophycis tenuis
Groundsh Windowpane Scophthalmus aquosus
Groundsh Witch Flounder Glyptocephalus cynoglossus
Groundsh Yellowtail Flounder Limanda ferruginea
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Anchovies Anchoa hepsetus / Anchoa mitchilli
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Atlantic Herring Clupea harengus
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Atlantic Mackerel Scomber scombrus
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Atlantic Saury Scomberesox saurus
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Bluesh Pomatomus saltatrix
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Buttersh Peprilus triacanthus
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Longn Inshore Squid Doryteuthis pealeii
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Sand Lances Ammodytes americanus & Ammodytes dubius
Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods Northern Shortn Squid Illex illecebrosus
Benthic Invertebrates American Lobster Homarus americanus
Benthic Invertebrates Atlantic Sea Scallop Placopecten magellanicus
Benthic Invertebrates Atlantic Surfclam Spisula solidissima
Benthic Invertebrates Bay Scallop Argopecten irradians
Benthic Invertebrates Bloodworm Glycera dibranchiata
Benthic Invertebrates Blue Crab Callinectes sapidus
Benthic Invertebrates Blue Mussel Mytilus edulis
Benthic Invertebrates Cancer Crabs Cancer borealis / Cancer irroratus
Benthic Invertebrates Channeled Whelk Busycotypus canaliculatus
Benthic Invertebrates Deep-sea Red Crab Chaceon quinquedens
Benthic Invertebrates Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica
Benthic Invertebrates Green Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis
Benthic Invertebrates Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus
Benthic Invertebrates Knobbed Whelk Busycon carica
Benthic Invertebrates Northern Shrimp Pandalus borealis
Benthic Invertebrates Ocean Quahog Arctica islandica
Benthic Invertebrates Northern Quahog Mercenaria mercenaria
Benthic Invertebrates Softshell Clam Mya arenaria
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756.t001
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Table 2. Climate Exposure Factors and Sensitivity Attributes. List of climate exposure factors and sensitivity attributes used in the climate vulnerability
assessment. See NMFS Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology for more details [34].
Climate Factor or Biological Attribute Goal Low Score High Score
Climate
Factors
Mean Ocean Surface
Temperature
To determine if there are changes in mean ocean surface
temperature comparing the 19562005 to 20062055 periods
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Mean Ocean Surface
Salinity
To determine if there are changes in mean ocean surface
salinity comparing the 19562005 to 20062055 periods
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Mean Air Temperature To determine if there are changes in mean air temperature
comparing the 19562005 to 20062055 periods. Air
temperature is a proxy for water temperatures in lakes,
streams, river, estuaries, and nearshore areas
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Mean Precipitation To determine if there are changes in mean precipitation
comparing the 19562005 to 20062055 periods.
Precipitation is a proxy for streamow.
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Mean Ocean pH To determine if there are changes in mean ocean pH
comparing the 19562005 to 20062055 periods. pH
represents ocean acidication.
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Variability in Ocean Surface
Temperature
To determine if there are changes in variability of ocean
surface temperature comparing the 19562005 to 20062055
periods
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Variability in Ocean Surface
Salinity
To determine if there are changes in variability of ocean
surface salinity comparing the 19562005 to 20062055
periods
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Variability in Air
Temperature
To determine if there are changes in variability of air
temperature comparing the 19562005 to 20062055
periods. Air temperature is a proxy for water temperatures in
lakes, streams, river, estuaries, and nearshore areas
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Variability in Precipitation To determine if there are changes in variability of
precipitation comparing the 19562005 to 20062055
periods. Precipitation is a proxy for streamow.
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Variability in pH To determine if there are changes in variability of ocean pH
comparing the 19562005 to 20062055 periods. pH
represents ocean acidication.
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Sea Level Rise To evaluate the magnitude of sea level rise relative to the
ability of nearshore habitats to change
Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Ocean Currents To evaluate changes in large-scale circulation. Low magnitude of
change
High magnitude of
change
Biological Attributes
Prey Specicity To determine, on a relative scale, if the stock is a prey
generalist or a prey specialist.
Prey generalist Prey specialist
Habitat Specicity To determine, on a relative scale, if the stock is a habitat
generalist or a habitat specialist while incorporating
information on the type and abundance of key habitats.
Habitat generalist Habitat specialist
Sensitivity to Ocean
Acidication
To estimate a stocks sensitivity to ocean acidication based
on its relationship with shelled species.(followed Kroeker
et al. 2012)
Sensitive taxa Insensitive taxa
Complexity in Reproductive
Strategy
To determine how complex the stocks reproductive strategy
is and how dependent reproductive success is on specic
environmental conditions.
Low compleixty,
broadcast spawning
High complexity;
aggregate spawning
Sensitivity to Temperature To use the distribution of the species as a proxy for its
sensitivity to temperature. Note: that this attribute uses
species (vs. stock) distributions as they better predict thermal
requirements.
Broad thermal limits Narrow thermal limits
Early Life History Survival
and Settlement
Requirements
To determine the relative importance of early life history
requirements for a stock.
Generalist with few
requirements
Specialists with
specic requirements
(Continued)
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defined in the NMFS Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology [34] were used here
(Table 2). As an example, the Adult Mobility of a clam is low and as a result, adults would be
unable to move as climate changes making them more vulnerable to climate change. The defi-
nition for a few sensitivity attributes varies slightly from those presented in the NMFS Method-
ology [34] (see S1 Supporting Information) due to minor changes in the definitions in the
methodology, which occurred after the implementation described here.
Participants. The expert group consisted of the core development team for the methodol-
ogy [34], as well as regional experts from NOAA NMFS including stock assessment scientists,
fisheries scientists, ecologists, and oceanographers. Fourteen experts participated: two experts
per functional group (Coastal Fish, Benthic Invertebrates, Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods, Elas-
mobranchs, and Diadromous Fish), with the exception of 4 experts for Groundfish. Most
experts have experience with species in several functional groups. Two climate experts also par-
ticipated, providing access and advice regarding the climate exposure factors. Representatives
of the New England Fisheries Management Council, Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management
Council and Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office provided input on species at a work-
shop where the experts met to discuss exposure and sensitivity scoring (see expert certainty
below).
Assessment Preparation
Species Profiles. Species profiles were prepared to summarize the biological and ecological
information needed for experts to score the sensitivity attributes. The consolidation of the
information was an important step to ensure that all experts were provided with the same base-
line information. In general, the Northeast U.S. Shelf is data rich with regards to fish and inver-
tebrate biology and ecology. However, there are species included in this assessment that are
considered data-poor and a Data Quality attribute was included to help identify information
gaps. Numerous summary documents were available to complete species profiles including
stock assessments [62,63], Essential Fish Habitat source documents [64], and monographs
Table 2. (Continued)
Climate Factor or Biological Attribute Goal Low Score High Score
Stock Size/Status To estimate stock status to clarify how much stress from
shing the stock is experiencing and to determine if the
stocks resilience or adaptive capacity are compromised due
to low abundance.
High abundance Low abundance
Other Stressors To account for conditions that could increase the stress on a
stock and thus decrease its ability to respond to changes.
Low level of other
stressors
High level of other
stressors
Population Growth Rate To estimate the relative productivity of the stock. High population
growth
Low population
growth
Dispersal of Early Life
Stages
To estimate the ability of the stock to colonize new habitats
when/if their current habitat becomes less suitable.
High dispersal Low dispersal
Adult Mobility To estimate the ability of the stock to move to a new location
if their current location changes and is no longer favorable for
growth and/or survival.
High mobility Low mobility
Spawning Cycle To determine if the duration of the spawning cycle for the
stock could limit the ability of the stock to successfully
reproduce if necessary conditions are disrupted by climate
change.
Year-round
spawning
One event per year
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that describe the biology and ecology of fish and invertebrate species in the region [46,65,66].
Peer-reviewed literature was also used to complete the profiles for some species when informa-
tion was not summarized in the documents described above. General guidelines were devel-
oped for completing species profiles and approximately 36 hours were spent on each species
profile. One scientist then reviewed all the profiles to ensure consistency in content.
Climate Projections. For most climate factors included in the assessment, exposure was
estimated from an ensemble of global climate models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change Assessment Report 5 (IPCC AR5). As described above, the choice of climate
factors to use in this assessment was impacted by the resolution of the models used for projec-
tions. The ocean resolution of these models is too course (0.51.0° latitude, 1.01.5° longitude)
to allow mesoscale eddies, sub-mesoscale eddies, fronts, and regional scale bathymetry and cir-
culation [67]. The Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP 8.5) was used, which repre-
sents a business-as-usualscenario assuming little to no stabilization of greenhouse gas
emissions by 2100 [68,69]. The 20062055 period was chosen for projections because this rep-
resents the coming decades, which are of more relevance to living marine resource manage-
ment than the end of the century. The 50 year average focuses the projections on the forced
climate change signal, but also includes the multi-decadal variability signal [17,36]. The expo-
sures to ocean surface temperature (upper 10 m), surface air temperature, ocean surface salinity
(upper 10 m), and precipitation were estimated from an ensemble of 2535 global climate
models. Exposure to ocean acidification was estimated from an ensemble of 11 earth system
models. These ensembles were defined as those models available on the Earth System Grid Fed-
eration Portal (http://pcmdi9.llnl.gov/esgf-web-fe/) in autumn 2013 that simulated a given
parameter over the time period of interest.
Using these model outputs, the change in climate conditions in the future relative to the
past were expressed in a standard deviate framework (for the mean factors) and an F-test
framework (for the variance factors). Maps of these standard deviates and variance ratios were
obtained from NOAAs Ocean Climate Change Web Portal [70]. Maps of inter-model variabil-
ity were also obtained to assess the among-model uncertainty. The approach scales projected
future change to the past mean state and variability in that state (i.e., the standard deviate of
change is used, not the mean change). For example, the exposure resulting from 1°C increase is
greater in an ecosystem with a 0.2°C standard deviation in past temperatures compared to a
system with a 2°C standard deviation in past temperatures. This construct is based on macroe-
cological principals that indicate niches are broader in areas of more variable environment [71,
72].
Exposure to change in currents and sea-level rise was evaluated by a review of the literature.
A summary of likely changes in currents was prepared in consultation with oceanographers
and climate scientists (S2 Supporting Information). Exposure to a change in currents was
scored based on a species use or dependence of large-scale currents in the region. For example
American Eel is dependent on the Gulf Stream to transport larvae from spawning locations in
the Sargasso Sea to the oceanic waters off the Northeast U.S. Shelf. Thus American Eel is
exposed to changes in the Gulf Stream. Similarly for Sea-Level Rise, a summary was prepared
of the expected rate of change of regional sea level compared to rates of sea level rise that
coastal habitats can accommodate (S3 Supporting Information). Exposure to sea-level rise was
scored based on a speciesreliance on wetland, seagrass, and estuarine habitats.
Species distributions. Species distribution information was obtained primarily through
the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) [73]. OBIS data is point occurrence data
only, however, the Northeast U.S. Shelf is well represented in OBIS through the inclusion of
data from several ecosystem-wide surveys. For some species, information obtained through
OBIS was supplemented with information from other sources including stock assessments [62,
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63], Essential Fish Habitat source documents [64], and monographs [46,65,66]. Owing to the
multiple sources of information used for species distribution, a quantitative match between
exposure and distribution was not calculated and experts were allowed to judge spatial overlap
individually using the information provided. The uncertainty introduced by expert elicitation
is small since the Northeast U.S. Shelf is well sampled and species distributions are relatively
well known [41,42].
Scoring
Climate Exposure. Four scientists scored climate exposure in consultation with a broader
group of climate scientists. Prior to scoring, the experts received an overview of the output of
the climate model ensembles [70]. Experts then used information on species distribution and
the exposure maps of ocean surface temperature, ocean surface salinity, air temperature, and
pH to estimate exposure in the Northeast U.S. Shelf ecosystem. The comparisons between spe-
cies distribution and exposure maps were made visually by each expert independently. This
species specific exposure was then converted to a score using pre-defined criteria (S4 Support-
ing Information). Scores for exposure were: low, moderate, high, and very high. If a species was
not exposed to a given factor, it was scored as low exposure (e.g., Acadian Redfish is not
exposed to changes in precipitation because they live in deep, offshore waters). For sea-level
rise and ocean currents, which were not included in the climate model output, the experts
reviewed the exposure summaries (S2 Supporting Information,S3 Supporting Information)
and then discussed these documents as a group. Species with no exposure to change in currents
were scored as low and species with exposure to currents were scored on the basis of the magni-
tude of change estimated by expert opinion (clarified in S2 Supporting Information). With
regard to Sea-Level Rise, species with no reliance on nearshore habitats were scored low and
species that use these habitats were scored based on the magnitude of the impacts of sea-level
rise estimated by expert opinion (clarified in S3 Supporting Information).
Sensitivity Attributes. Fourteen experts scored sensitivity attributes. Benthic Invertebrate,
Coastal Fish, Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods, Elasmobranchs, and Diadromous Fish group
experts scored all the species in their assigned group and a random selection of other species.
Owing to the number of Groundfish species, assigned experts scored half the Groundfish spe-
cies and a random selection of other species. Experts used the species profiles and attribute
descriptions (S1 Supporting Information) as a common baseline, but were encouraged to bring
their expertise and new information to the scoring process.
Expert Certainty. Scoring of both climate exposure and biological sensitivity was com-
pleted individually using a 5 tally scoring system. Each expert had 5 tallies to score each expo-
sure factor or sensitivity attribute; they could place all five tallies in the same bin (e.g., low) for
attributes or factors with high certainty, or they could spread their tallies across all bins for
attributes or factors with less certainty (e.g., low, moderate, high, very high). Once the individ-
ual scores were recorded, experts met in person and discussed scores as a group. Experts were
given the opportunity to independently change their final scores based on the discussion, how-
ever, there was no requirement nor expectation that experts reach consensus. The full results of
the expert scoring- number of tallies per scoring bin (low, moderate, high, very high) by species
and attribute are provided in S5 Supporting Information,S1 Dataset, and S2 Dataset.
Directional Effect. Experts were asked to score the directional effect of climate change for
each species, giving an overall indication whether impacts are anticipated to be negative, neu-
tral, or positive on the species in the region. For each species, 3 experts scored directional effect.
Experts included the functional group experts for each species (n = 2) and the lead author.
Each expert was given 4 tallies to score in the 3 bins. The scores were converted to numbers
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(negative = -1, neutral = 0, positive = 1) and a weighted average was calculated based on the
total of 12 tallies. Weighted averages below -0.333 were classified as an overall negative effect,
weighted averages between -0.333 and 0.333 were classified as an overall neutral effect, and
weighted averages above 0.333 were classified as an overall positive effect. The full results of the
expert scoring, number of tallies per scoring bin (Negative, Neutral, Positive) by species are
provided in S5 Supporting Information (and S1 Dataset and S2 Dataset).
Data Quality. Experts also assessed the quality of information available for scoring (i.e.,
data quality, S6 Supporting Information). Each expert noted their opinion of data quality for
each sensitivity attribute or exposure factor for each species. These data quality scores were
then averaged across experts and the proportion of data quality scores <2 for each species was
calculated; a score of 2 represents limited data available.
Analyses
Five analyses were conducted on the expert scores of climate exposure, sensitivity attributes,
and directional effect. 1) Overall climate vulnerability was calculated from a combination of cli-
mate exposure factors and biological sensitivity attributes. 2) Potential for a change in species
distribution was calculated using a subset of sensitivity attributes. 3) Bootstrap analyses were
used to evaluate the certainty in the overall vulnerability, potential for a change in distribution,
and directional effect of climate change. 4) Leave-one-out sensitivity analyses were used to
evaluate the effects exposure factors and sensitivity attributes in determining overall vulnerabil-
ity. 5) Overall climate vulnerability, potential for distribution change, and directional effect of
climate change were analyzed by functional groups to identify larger patterns in climate effects.
Estimate of Overall Vulnerability. Overall climate vulnerability was estimated using a
four step process. First, the component scores (low, moderate, high and very high) were
assigned a numerical value (1, 2, 3, and 4). Second, an average score for each climate exposure
factor and sensitivity attribute was calculated as the weighted-mean of the expertstallies.
Third, an overall exposure and sensitivity score was calculated from the weighted means using
a logic rule (Table 3). Fourth, an overall climate vulnerability score was calculated by multiply-
ing the overall exposure and sensitivity scores. The product of the two component numeric
scores results in a value between 1 and 16. The overall climate vulnerability rank is then classi-
fied as follows: 13 low, 46 moderate, 89 high, and 1216 very high.
Potential for Distribution Change. High potential for change in species distribution was
defined as highly mobile adults, broadly dispersing early life stages, low habitat specificity, and
high temperature sensitivity [34]. These attributes have some skill in predicting species that
can change distribution in response to climate change; increased dispersal capacity and eco-
logical generalism promote changes in distribution [74]. The potential for a change in species
distribution was estimated using these attributes, reversing the scores for Adult Mobility, Early
Table 3. Logic rule for calculating overall speciesclimate exposure and biological sensitivity. The
scoring rubric is based on a logic model where a certain number of individual scores above a certain threshold
are used to determine the overall climate exposure and overall biological sensitivity.
Overall Sensitivity or Exposure Score Numeric Score Logic Rule
Very High 4 3 of more attributes or factors mean 3.5
High 3 2 of more attributes or factors mean 3.0
Moderate 2 2 of more attributes or factors mean 2.5
Low 1 All other scores
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Life Stage Dispersal, and Habitat Specificity, and applying the same logic rule as in the general
vulnerability calculation.
Certainty in Vulnerability Scores. Bootstrap analysis was used to calculate the certainty
of the climate vulnerability scores, potential for change in distribution scores and directional
effect scores. Using the climate vulnerability scores as the examples, the scores across all experts
for a given exposure factor (n = 20; 4 experts and 5 tallies) or sensitivity attribute (n = 25; 5
experts and 5 tallies) were drawn randomly with replacement. This was repeated 10,000 times
for each of the 12 sensitivity attributes and the 12 exposure factors, and the overall vulnerability
score was calculated for each iteration. The outcomes of each iteration was recorded and the
proportion of these 10,000 repetitions that scored in each overall vulnerability bin was enumer-
ated. A similar bootstrapping analysis was conducted on the potential for a distribution change
(n = 25; 5 experts and 5 tallies) and the directional effect scoring (n = 12; 3 experts and 4
tallies).
Importance of Climate Exposure Factors and Sensitivity Attributes. For the sensitivity
analysis, the overall vulnerability score for each species was calculated leaving out the scores
for each sensitivity attribute or exposure factor. These analyses were then evaluated across spe-
cies to determine influential factors and attributes in the overall vulnerability rank.
Functional Group Evaluation. To evaluate the similarity of vulnerability across functional
groups, overall climate vulnerability, potential for distribution change, and directional effect of
climate change were pooled by functional group. In addition, sensitivity attribute scores within
and among functional groups was evaluated using non-metric multidimensional scaling.
Species Narratives
In addition to the composite results that show the relative vulnerabilities across species, species
specific vulnerability narratives were prepared (S7 Supporting Information). These narratives
provide the distribution of tallies and the data quality score for each exposure factor and sensi-
tivity attribute, the overall climate vulnerability, potential for distribution change, directional
effect scores, and the certainty in these scores. Additionally, a summary of identified climate
effects on the species and a synopsis of the life history is given.
Ethics Statement
This study was not based on Human Subject Research. The study was not based in Animal
Research. No field permits were involved. This was an expert opinion vulnerability assessment
and all experts involved are co-authors on the paper.
Results
Overall Climate Vulnerability
The 82 species were nearly equally split among the different climate vulnerability ranks: very
high (~27%), high (~23%), moderate (~24%) and low (~26%) (Fig 3). Climate exposure scores
for all 82 species were high or very high indicating the magnitude of climate change relative to
the variability of past conditions is high. Biological sensitivity ranged from low to very high.
The certainty in the score of the majority of species exceeded 90% based on the bootstrap anal-
ysis (Fig 3). Approximately 27% of species had certainty scores between 6690%. Approxi-
mately 12% of species had certainty scores <66%. For certainty scores less than 50%, a
majority of bootstrapped climate vulnerability scores were different than the actual score. Spe-
cies narratives provide species-specific summaries of the results (S7 Supporting Information).
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Potential for Distribution Change
Many species in the Northeast U.S. Shelf have life history attributes that suggest distribution
may change in response to climate change (Fig 4). More than 50% of the species exhibit very
high or high potential for a change in species distribution. In general, overall climate vulnera-
bility (changes in population productivity) varies inversely to the potential for a change in spe-
cies distribution: species highly vulnerable to a change in productivity have a lower potential to
change distribution and vice versa (S8 Supporting Information). However, the certainty poten-
tial for distribution change score of almost half the species was <66%; this lower value of cer-
tainty compared to overall climate vulnerability results from the lower number of attributes
included in the potential for distribution change calculation.
Directional Effect of Climate Change
Based on expert opinion of the directional effect of climate change, approximately half of the
species were assessed to be negatively affected by climate change in the Northeast U.S. Shelf
(Fig 5). Negative impacts are estimated for many of the iconic species in the ecosystem includ-
ing Atlantic Sea Scallop, Atlantic Cod, and Atlantic Mackerel. In general, negative effects are
Fig 3. Overall climate vulnerability score. For species names and functional groups see Table 1. Overall climate vulnerability is denoted by color: low
(green), moderate (yellow), high (orange), and very high (red). Certainty in score is denoted by text font and text color: very high certainty (>95%, black, bold
font), high certainty (9095%, black, italic font), moderate certainty (6690%, white or gray, bold font), low certainty (<66%, white or gray, italic font).
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anticipated for a number of Benthic Invertebrate and Groundfish species. However, positive
effects are anticipated for 17% of species including Inshore Longfin Squid, Butterfish, and Atlan-
tic Croaker. The certainty in directional effect score varied, but was >95% for almost half of the
species assessed. However, there were species with low certainty (<66%) in all three directional
effect categories. By comparing across the climate vulnerability, potential for distribution change,
and directional effect scores, species can be identified that are likely to increase in productivity
(e.g., Black Sea Bass) or shift into the region (e.g., Atlantic Croaker) or that are likely to decrease
in productivity (e.g., Winter Flounder) or shift out of the region (e.g., Atlantic Mackerel).
Evaluation of Exposure Factors and Sensitivity Attributes
Mean ocean surface temperature change (upper 10 m) and mean surface pH change were
determined to be important factors in the climate vulnerability scores (Fig 6). These factors
were scored as very high exposure for all species owing to the magnitude of change projected
by 2055 (S9 Supporting Information). Mean surface air temperature change (as a proxy for
Fig 4. Potential for a change in species distribution. Potential was calculated using a subset of sensitivity attributes. Colors represent low (green),
moderate (yellow), high (orange) and very high (red) potential for a change in distribution. Certainty in score is denoted by text font and text color: very high
certainty (>95%, black, bold font), high certainty (9095%, black, italic font), moderate certainty (6690%, white or gray, bold font), low certainty (<66%, white
or gray, italic font).
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shallow water temperatures) and to a lesser extent sea-level rise were also important for species
that were exposed to these factors (Coastal Fish and Diadromous Fish species). Exposure fac-
tors that were not as important in determining vulnerability scores exhibited a lower magni-
tude of change, particularly the variance of the exposure factors and mean changes in
precipitation and ocean surface salinity.
The importance of sensitivity attributes varied across species and there was no subset of
dominant attributes (Fig 7). All attributes were scored as very high or high sensitivity for at
least one species. There were three attributes that had the strongest influence on climate vul-
nerability: Population Growth Rate, Adult Mobility, and Stock Status. Removal of the attributes
in the sensitivity analysis changed the scores of 14, 10, and 9 species, respectively.
Functional Group Results
The effects of climate change exhibited some consistency across functional groups. In terms of
overall climate vulnerability, Diadromous Fish and Benthic Invertebrate species had the
Fig 5. Directional effect of climate change. Colors represent expected negative (red), neutral (tan), and positive (green) effects. Certainty in score is
denoted by text font and text color: very high certainty (>95%, black, bold font), high certainty (9095%, black, italic font), moderate certainty (6690%, white
or gray, bold font), low certainty (<66%, white or gray, italic font).
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highest vulnerabilities (Fig 8). Some Coastal Fish species also scored very highly vulnerable to
climate change. Elasmobranchs and Groundfish groups had no species that scored very highly
vulnerable, and Pelagic Fish and Cephalopod species had no species that scored very highly or
highly vulnerable. Potential for distribution change also varied by functional groups (Fig 8).
Only Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods and Elasmobranchs had very high potential for a distribu-
tion change. Diadromous Fish, Benthic Invertebrates, and Groundfish had species with a low
Fig 6. Climate exposure factors. Average climate exposure scores across all species (A) and results of sensitivity analysis for the effect of individual
exposure factors on overall climate vulnerability (B).
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potential for distribution change. Similarly, the directional effect of climate change varied
across functional groups. All groups had species where negative effects of climate change are
estimated and Benthic Invertebrates and Groundfish had greatest proportion of species with
Fig 7. Biological sensitivity attributes. Average sensitivity attribute scores across all species (A) and results of sensitivity analysis for the effect of
individual sensitivity attributes on overall climate vulnerability scores (B).
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estimated negative effects. Only Coastal Fish and Pelagic Fish and Cephalopods had species
where positive effects of climate change are estimated within the Northeast U.S. Shelf ecosys-
tem. MDS ordination of sensitivity attributes exhibited some consistency within functional
groups but also demonstrated that certain species have attribute that are more similar to species
in other functional groups (S10 Supporting Information).
Discussion
The results of this assessment indicate that a number of fish and invertebrate species in the
Northeast U.S. Shelf are highly or very highly vulnerable to climate change and decadal scale
variability (Fig 3). Climate vulnerability here is defined as the extent to which abundance or
productivity of a species could be impacted by climate change. This vulnerability results from
the relatively large magnitude of climate change projected for the region over the next 35 years
(S9 Supporting Information), as well as attributes of individual species. Changes in population
productivity have already been observed in the system [4,8,44] and the results presented here
Fig 8. Functional groups and climate vulnerability. Number of species from each functional group by overall climate vulnerability (A), potential for
distribution change (B), and directional effect of climate change (C).
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suggest that these changes are likely to continue in the future, possibly becoming widespread
among species in the ecosystem. The results of this assessment also suggest a large number of
species in the ecosystem have a high potential for a change in distribution (Fig 4). Distribution
changes have already been observed in the system [41,42,75] and have been linked to climate
variables and fishing [76]. Finally, this assessment suggests that approximately half of the spe-
cies included will be affected negatively by climate impacts in the region (e.g., decreased pro-
ductivity, distribution shifts out of the system). However, positive effects of climate change are
expected for some fish and invertebrate species in the ecosystem.
Ocean temperatures, shallow-water temperatures, and ocean acidification were the climate
exposure factors with the largest magnitude of change expected by 2055, thereby contributing
most to the high and very high climate exposure. There is more known about the impacts of
temperature than the impacts of ocean acidification on the species in the NE LME and contin-
ued research on the effects of these factors should be a priority. The effects of temperature on
species biology and ecology are well documented and there are numerous examples of incorpo-
rating temperature into models of population abundance and distribution [11,14,77]. These
climate induced changes can result in changing reference points for management [11,14,78]
and changes in stock distribution, which can also influence management [79]. Given the tem-
perature changes experienced in recent decades and projected for the future in the region [39,
80,81], temperature should be included in regional scientific advice and management. Further,
research must continue to understand the mechanisms by which temperature affects species
and to parameterize these affects for inclusion in population and ecosystem models [8284].
The effects of ocean acidification on species biology and ecology are not as well understood
[85]. In recent years, a number of studies have started to fill this gap for species in the North-
east U.S. Shelf [57,86]. However, it is often difficult to place the impacts identified in experi-
mental studies into the context of the magnitude of projected change. In the Northeast U.S.
Shelf, pH is projected to decrease by 0.08 to 0.12 units by 2055 (S9 Supporting Information).
Many of the studies however use treatments equivalent to ocean acidification conditions
expected by 2100 or 2200. In addition, many studies use constant ocean acidification levels, but
there is a large magnitude of daily, seasonal, interannual, and regional variability [87]. Research
is needed that tests the impacts of ocean acidification at the levels expected over the next 2040
years to support shorter term projections that can be used in management. One example is a
recent study with Atlantic Sea Scallop where fishery yields are projected to decrease in the com-
ing decades owing to the effects of ocean acidification [16]. Because a meta-analysis shows con-
sistent negative impacts of ocean acidification on mollusc larvae [85] this methodology scored
molluscs as very sensitive to ocean acidification (S1 Supporting Information). As these species
also exhibit low adult mobility, molluscs were ranked with a high or very high vulnerability to
climate change. This should be interpreted cautiously, and highlights the need for more
research on species specific impacts of ocean acidification. It is imperative to experimentally
examine the effect of ocean acidification on exploited species, incorporate this information
into future climate vulnerability assessments, and include these effects in assessment models
that evaluate the impact of acidification in the coming decades.
In contrast to the high influence of a limited number of exposure factors, the importance of
biological sensitivity attributes was more variable; indicating the diversities in life history strat-
egies among fish and invertebrates species in the Northeast U.S. Shelf. In general, Stock Status,
Population Growth Rate, and Adult Mobility were the most influential attributes. Improved
understanding of these attributes is identified as priority research areas. There are a number of
other species specific needs that are identified in the species narratives (S7 Supporting Informa-
tion). There is also a need to understand the relative role of climate change in concert with
multiple other stressors in affecting population abundance. Here we focused on changing
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climate but included fishery status and other stressors as sensitivity attributes; stress from cli-
mate change will act in concert with other stressors. Including multiple stressors as exposure
factors is possible in the vulnerability assessment framework [21,23]; for management to result
in long-term sustainability, the important stressors need to be identified and included in man-
agement considerations [88]. Fishing is still a dominant factor, but as fishing mortality
decreases, the relative importance of other stressors (e.g., climate change, habitat alterations)
will increase [8,76]. New contaminant and disease concerns are being identified and require
more study to understand their effect on fish and shellfish populations [89,90]. In addition,
although barriers to diadromous fish passage are decreasing, a number of barriers remain [91].
For this study, adaptive capacity was incorporated into the sensitivity attributes. Adaptive
capacity includes a species ability to move when conditions change (adult dispersal), ability to
acclimate to changes (plasticity in response, generalist versus specialist), and the ability to
evolve as a population or species [33,92]. This methodology incorporated aspects of the first
two, but not the third; the genetic ability to adapt to climate change remains under-known [33,
92]. Understanding genotypic and phenotypic adaptive capacity in marine fish and inverte-
brates should be a priority for future research.
The results from this assessment can be compared with detailed studies examining past
changes in fish and invertebrate species and projecting future changes. In some cases, these
more detailed studies seemingly contradict the results presented here. Population productivity
of both the Southern New England Yellowtail Flounder and Winter Flounder stocks has
decreased and these decreases have been attributed to changes in the environment [8,44]. In
this climate vulnerability assessment, Yellowtail Flounder was ranked as having a low vulnera-
bility to change in population productivity and Winter Flounder was ranked as having a very
high vulnerability to changes in productivity. Similarly, Alewife and American Shad have
exhibited some of the greatest shifts in distribution in the ecosystem [41], but the potential for
a change in species distribution was low. The results of an expert-based assessment are never
going to completely agree with the results of more detailed, empirical and process-oriented
studies or assessments. However, expert opinion summarizes current knowledge in a defined
framework and can guide future monitoring, research, and modeling studies. Further, the stud-
ies described above are not directly comparable with the results of this assessment. The changes
in productivity were demonstrated for specific stocks of Yellowtail Flounder and Winter Floun-
der, those at the southern extent of the range, while this assessment was conducted at the spe-
cies level encompassing two or three stocks. The directional effect measure estimates negative
effects on both Yellowtail Flounder and Winter Flounder. Similarly, the distribution changes in
Alewife and American Shad have been observed during the marine phase only. Natal homing
is an important part of the life history of these species [93], so changes in spawning distribution
are less likely to occur as predicted by this methodology. The important accomplishment of
this assessment is to frame climate vulnerability for a majority of managed fish and inverte-
brate species in the ecosystem and for a number of unmanaged, but ecologically or commer-
cially important species in the ecosystem.
The assessment was done at the species level. There are pros and cons associated with run-
ning a vulnerability assessment at finer (i.e. stock) and coarser (i.e. functional group) levels. A
previous assessment in the region was performed at the functional group level [30] and man-
agement in many cases is at the stock level (sub-species) [94]. The analysis by functional group
(Fig 8,S10 Supporting Information) suggests that while indicatorspecies or general func-
tional groups can be used, similar species can have different biological attributes and different
overall climate vulnerabilities. A stock specific assessment would be more appropriate to fisher-
ies management, but only in cases where regional species vulnerability is different from stock-
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756 February 3, 2016 22 / 30
specific vulnerability. The choice of number of species (or stocks or functional groups) is
dependent on the resources available and the objectives of the assessment.
Our objective here was to provide a broad examination of climate vulnerability for fish and
invertebrates on the Northeast U.S. shelf. There are other approaches to estimating speciesvul-
nerability to climate change. For example, thermal habitat modeling was completed to estimate
available future thermal habitat on the Scotian Shelf [15,95]. While objectives were similar, the
methodologies are different enough that the results provide answers to different questions
(projected available habitat vs trait based vulnerabilities). Mechanistic climate-population
models are another way of investigating climate vulnerability. Models have been developed for
a few species (<10 species) but to complete such detailed analyses for the 82 species included
here will take several years at least [11,14,77]. Finally, Bioclimatic Envelop Modeling has been
conducted at the global [19,20] and regional scale [96]. All of these approaches have value and
can contribute to informing managers of the challenges and opportunities that result from cli-
mate change. Together, these studies indicate that climate change is going to impact fish and
invertebrate species for the foreseeable future.
In addition to addressing scientific questions and identifying important research needs, the
results of this assessment can be used by managers in at least four ways. First, the information
resulting from the assessment can be used to inform management and regulatory documents,
including fishery management plans developed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conser-
vation and Management Act, Biological Opinions, and Listing Decisions under the Endangered
Species Act, and Environmental Impact Statements under the National Environmental Policy
Act [97]. Second, the results can be used to guide management actions. The climate vulnerabil-
ity of 8 species decreases if Stock Status is removed from the analysis: Atlantic Halibut, Winter
Flounder, Witch Flounder, Barndoor Skate, Dusky Shark, Porbeagle, Rossette Skate, Sand
Tiger, and Thorny Skate. Efforts to decrease fishing mortality on these species might result in
an increase in stock size and thus lower overall climate vulnerability. Third, the assessment can
contribute to the development of regional Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management [98],
inform spatial management (e.g., management areas for future refuges of vulnerable species),
and guide the inclusion of climate variables in single-, multi-species and ecosystem models [99,
100]. Fourth, the vulnerability narratives are useful for identification of species specific research
and management needs as they provide in-depth species specific scores as well as a discussion
of earlier climate related studies on that species.
We advocate that the Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment should be conducted iter-
atively. Most fishery stock assessments are conducted iteratively [101] and we recommend con-
ducting the climate vulnerability assessments following the same interval as the IPCC
Assessment Reports. Similarly, Integrated Ecosystem Assessments are planned to be iterative
[102]. The implementation of the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology was success-
ful (S11 Supporting Information). However, there are improvements that should be considered
for the next iteration. First, bottom temperature and improved ocean acidification projections
should be included; both of these would require some form of regional downscaling [77]or
higher resolution climate models [103]. Second, the ensemble uncertainty in climate change
could also be included formally in the assessment (S12 Supporting Information), along with
different emission scenarios and potentially time periods. Third, the next iteration should
include an update of the species profiles and rescoring of both the climate exposure and sensi-
tivity attributes. If information on species specific plasticity or evolutionary adaptability exist
by the next iteration, this information should be included to improve the evaluation of adaptive
capacity [33,104,105]. Fourth, the next assessment should include experts from a broader
background than used here. This assessment included only NMFS employees with some out-
side observers. One of the main objectives of this effort was to provide the first implementation
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756 February 3, 2016 23 / 30
of NMFS Methodology [34]. This will not be an objective of the next iteration and efforts
should be made to include a broad array of fisheries, protected species, and ecosystem stake-
holders. Fifth, there are potential links that could be made between Overfishing Vulnerability
Assessments [24,25], Habitat Vulnerability Assessments [106] and Social Vulnerability Assess-
ments [107]. The vulnerability assessment framework provides a powerful tool that can com-
plement other assessment techniques and support the broader implementation of Ecosystem-
Based Management and climate change adaptation strategies.
Supporting Information
S1 Dataset. Vulnerability Results.
(CSV)
S2 Dataset. Directional Effect Results.
(CSV)
S1 Supporting Information. Sensitivity Attributes.
(PDF)
S2 Supporting Information. Ocean Currents Exposure.
(PDF)
S3 Supporting Information. Sea-level Rise Exposure.
(PDF)
S4 Supporting Information. Climate exposure scoring.
(PDF)
S5 Supporting Information. Assessment Results.
(PDF)
S6 Supporting Information. Data Quality.
(PDF)
S7 Supporting Information. Species Narratives.
(PDF)
S8 Supporting Information. Climate Vulnerability and Distribution Change Potential.
(PDF)
S9 Supporting Information. Climate Exposure Maps.
(PDF)
S10 Supporting Information. MDS Ordination of Sensitivity Attributes.
(PDF)
S11 Supporting Information. Methodology Evaluation.
(PDF)
S12 Supporting Information. Climate Model Uncertainty.
(PDF)
Acknowledgments
Funding for this project was provided by the NOAA NMFS Office of Science and Technology,
NOAA NMFS Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA OAR Earth System Laboratory, NOAA
Northeast U.S. Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment
PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756 February 3, 2016 24 / 30
NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, NOAA NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science
Center, and the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program. We thank Antonietta Capotondi, Vince
Saba, and Charles Stock for contributing to the description of projected changes in ocean cur-
rents in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. We thank Mike Johnson for contributing to the
description of projected sea level rise in the region. We thank Richard Balouskus, Diane Borg-
gaard, Edith Carson, Sarah Laporte, Lynn Lankshear, Jessica Pruden, Rory Saunders, and Tara
Trinko Lake for completing species profiles in preparation for the assessment. We thank Kim
Hare for formatting references here and in the Supplemental Material and we thank Kris Gam-
ble for help with the figures. Finally, we thank Diane Borggaard and Kimberly Damon-Randall
for the encouragement and support throughout the project (before the beginning to the end).
We also thank Ken Drinkwater, Jeff Hutchings, and Nick Caputi for their thoughtful and con-
structive advice during a Council of Independent Experts review of the Climate Vulnerability
Assessment Methodology and this Northeast fisheries climate vulnerability assessment.
Acknowledgment of the above individuals does not imply their endorsement of this work; the
authors have sole responsibility for the content of this contribution. The views expressed herein
are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-
agencies.
Author Contributions
Conceived and designed the experiments: JAH WEM MWN MMS EJT RBG MAA JDS MCM
KEM CAG. Performed the experiments: JAH WEM MWN MMS EJT RBG MAA JDS LA RJB
ASC KLC THC DK JFK SML CTM LMM DER ER HJW. Analyzed the data: JAH WEM MWN
MMS EJT RBG MAA JDS MCM KEM CAG. Wrote the paper: JAH WEM MWN MMS EJT
RBG MAA JDS LA RJB ASC KLC THC DK JFK SML CTM LMM DER ER HJW MCM KEM
CAG.
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Supplementary resources (14)

... Climate change-driven increases in river water temperature is among the most cited threats to Atlantic salmon population resilience, with population extinction now considered a real possibility in some regions (Hare et al. 2016;Borggaard et al. 2019). Whereas low levels of heat stress are sufficient to alter physiological functions (e.g. ...
... Migratory fish are particularly vulnerable to climate change as transitions between habitats are finely tuned to specific environmental cues, and these transitions have consequences for subsequent life stages (Crozier et al. 2008;. Moreover, they utilize numerous habitats from freshwater headwaters to distant ocean; all habitats that are being impacted by climate change (Hare et al., 2016). The adaptive capacity of a population to respond to climate change can be enhanced by life history diversity and reproductive strategies that can buffer its vulnerability to warmer water conditions. ...
... In Hare et al. (2016), Atlantic salmon scored very high on the biological sensitivity scale to overall climate vulnerability as they are exposed to climate change in both freshwater and marine habitats. Near shore, ocean water temperatures and ocean acidification were the climate exposure factors with the greatest magnitude of change expected by 2055 (Hare et al., 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change and human activities have dramatically affected all ecosystems inhabited by Atlantic salmon, causing drastic population declines. Change in river temperature dynamics (e.g. daily variability, frequency, and duration of summer maximum, warmer thermal regimes) is of special concern as it impacts growth rates, reproductive success, prey abundance and phenology, timing of migration, and ultimately survival. The Atlantic Salmon Research Joint Venture held a workshop to address the effects of climate change on freshwater habitats of Atlantic salmon and identify research gaps and priorities. Here we summarize the state of the science for three key themes identified by workshop participants: (1) Effects of climate change on in-river habitat conditions, (2) Physiological and behavioral responses of salmon to temperature, and (3) Population-level responses of salmon to climate change. The group highlighted the crucial importance of understanding and monitoring the links between river temperature dynamics and physiological requirements of Atlantic salmon across different life stages and habitat conditions, with a focus on freshwater life stages. Climate change will undoubtedly continue to affect instream habitats across all seasons and render challenging conditions for all freshwater Atlantic salmon life stages. Hence, we call for urgent interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships among scientists and managers to address the pressing research gaps that require large-scale data integration across life cycle stages and ecosystems. More collaboration between scientists, managers, and interest groups is needed to ensure that fundamental science directly addresses the knowledge-action gap to enhance evidence-based decision-making and conservation.
... Acknowledging that species behavior, interactions, and adaptive responses determine how vulnerable species may respond to changing climate (Dawson et al., 2011;Pacifici et al., 2015), trait-based risk assessments have been widely applied for a range of organisms and related human activities. However, in marine ecosystems, existing climate vulnerability assessments have mainly focused on particular areas of biological or financial interest, or rich in data, such as the Scotian Shelf in Canada (Stortini et al., 2015), the coastal fisheries in the Philippines (Mamauag et al., 2013), or particular marine taxa such as marine mammals , sharks and rays of the Great Barrier Reef (Chin et al., 2010), and the fish community of northeast Shelf in the United States (Gaichas et al., 2014;Hare et al., 2016). However, large-scale studies assessing climate risk based on a diverse pool of threatened species are still scarce across larger planning regions, with some notable exceptions (Gardali et al., 2012;Lee et al., 2015;Pacifici et al., 2017). ...
... (11) Body size. The larger the body size of a given species, the higher its assumed position in the marine trophic guild, indicative of a K-strategy species (Gaichas et al., 2014;Hare et al., 2016). We considered species with larger body sizes more vulnerable to warming, as they have lower heat tolerance thresholds than smaller organisms (IPCC, 2014; ...
... Based on the quantitative approach, we attributed scores to the assigned levels of vulnerability traits (i.e., high, moderate, and low received descending scores from 3 to 1, respectively). We then estimated each species' average score of all vulnerability traits (Gaichas et al., 2014;Hare et al., 2016). We divided the range of values into three equal intervals, corresponding to categories of high, moderate, and low vulnerability. ...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid anthropogenic climate change is driving threatened biodiversity one step closer to extinction. Effects on native biodiversity are determined by an interplay between species' exposure to climate change and their specific ecological and life-history characteristics that render them even more susceptible. Impacts on biodiversity have already been reported, however, a systematic risk evaluation of threatened marine populations is lacking. Here, we employ a trait-based approach to assess the risk of 90 threatened marine Mediterranean species to climate change, combining species' exposure to increased sea temperature and intrinsic vulnerability. One-quarter of the threatened marine biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea is predicted to be under elevated levels of climate risk, with various traits identified as key vulnerability traits. High-risk taxa including sea turtles, marine mammals, Anthozoa and Chondrichthyes are highlighted. Climate risk, vulnerability and exposure hotspots are distributed along the Western Mediterranean, Alboran, Aegean, and Adriatic Seas. At each Mediterranean marine ecoregion, 21% to 31% of their threatened species have high climate risk. All Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas host threatened species with high risk to climate change, with 90% having a minimum of 4 up to 19 species of high climate risk, making the objective of a climate-smart conservation strategy a crucial task for immediate planning and action. Our findings aspire to offer new insights for systematic, spatially strategic planning and prioritization of vulnerable marine life in the face of accelerating climate change.
... Los factores de exposición son las variables climáticas que podrían afectar a una especie Morrison et al. 2016). Para cada ecosistema, dichos factores, fueron seleccionados considerando los cambios en el océano observados y esperados descriptos en la Sección 2. Las evaluaciones de vulnerabilidad consideran los factores de exposición y los atributos de sensibilidad y capacidad adaptativa que predicen la respuesta intrínseca de una especie al cambio (Pecl et al. 2014;Hare et al. 2016). ...
... Los factores de exposición o cambios en el océano, que se describen en la Sección 2, variaron de acuerdo al ecosistema considerado. A partir del juicio de expertos, se asignó un nivel cualitativo de vulnerabilidad considerando los mencionados factores de exposición y la sensibilidad y capacidad adaptativa de las especies, entre las que pueden destacarse: especificidad de hábitat, sensibilidad a la temperatura y a la acidificación, especificidad en la dieta, movilidad de los adultos, estado poblacional, complejidad del ciclo reproductivo, dispersión larval, tasa de crecimiento poblacional (ver Hare et al. 2016;Morrison et al. 2016). ...
... Los factores de exposición son las variables climáticas que podrían afectar a una especie Morrison et al. 2016). Para cada ecosistema, dichos factores, fueron seleccionados considerando los cambios en el océano observados y esperados descriptos en la Sección 2. Las evaluaciones de vulnerabilidad consideran los factores de exposición y los atributos de sensibilidad y capacidad adaptativa que predicen la respuesta intrínseca de una especie al cambio Hare et al. 2016). ...
... Los factores de exposición o cambios en el océano, que se describen en la Sección 2, variaron de acuerdo al ecosistema considerado. A partir del juicio de expertos, se asignó un nivel cualitativo de vulnerabilidad considerando los mencionados factores de exposición y la sensibilidad y capacidad adaptativa de las especies, entre las que pueden destacarse: especificidad de hábitat, sensibilidad a la temperatura y a la acidificación, especificidad en la dieta, movilidad de los adultos, estado poblacional, complejidad del ciclo reproductivo, dispersión larval, tasa de crecimiento poblacional (ver Hare et al. 2016;Morrison et al. 2016). ...
Technical Report
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Este documento es una novedosa recopilación de información científica sobre el impacto del cambio climático en el Mar Argentino. Es el primer informe nacional de estas características y un insumo fundamental para la formulación de políticas públicas y metas y objetivos de gestión
... Los factores de exposición son las variables climáticas que podrían afectar a una especie Morrison et al. 2016). Para cada ecosistema, dichos factores, fueron seleccionados considerando los cambios en el océano observados y esperados descriptos en la Sección 2. Las evaluaciones de vulnerabilidad consideran los factores de exposición y los atributos de sensibilidad y capacidad adaptativa que predicen la respuesta intrínseca de una especie al cambio Hare et al. 2016). ...
... Los factores de exposición o cambios en el océano, que se describen en la Sección 2, variaron de acuerdo al ecosistema considerado. A partir del juicio de expertos, se asignó un nivel cualitativo de vulnerabilidad considerando los mencionados factores de exposición y la sensibilidad y capacidad adaptativa de las especies, entre las que pueden destacarse: especificidad de hábitat, sensibilidad a la temperatura y a la acidificación, especificidad en la dieta, movilidad de los adultos, estado poblacional, complejidad del ciclo reproductivo, dispersión larval, tasa de crecimiento poblacional (ver Hare et al. 2016;Morrison et al. 2016). ...
Technical Report
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El cambio climático es un fenómeno a escala global, con efectos evidentes que repercuten sobre los diversos cuerpos de agua provocando migraciones de especies, incremento en el nivel del mar, y aumento de la frecuencia e intensidad de condiciones climáticas extremas. En línea con lo expresado por la FAO en múltiples ámbitos y publicaciones, es posible afirmar que estos cambios generan impactos continuos a nivel ambiental, social y económico. La pesca y la acuicultura en general, y particularmente la pesca y la acuicultura de pequeña escala son actividades particularmente vulnerables a los efectos del cambio climático. Por ello, es necesario desarrollar políticas y acciones que contribuyan a mitigar los cambios y a acelerar la adaptación del sector a una realidad desafiante. En este sentido, la carencia periódica de agua y la alteración de sus parámetros de calidad, las sequías y las variaciones en los patrones de las temperaturas guardan correlación con el cambio climático, y son parte de un abanico mucho más amplio de situaciones que afectan a los sistemas productivos, y de cuya evolución depende el equilibrio natural en los lagos, ríos y mares. Por otra parte, la confluencia de factores naturales y antrópicos en los fenómenos que se están sucediendo, indican que resulta esencial tener presente que los impactos asociados a la variabilidad natural del clima pueden verse intensificados y su frecuencia incrementada debido al cambio climático. El escenario planteado hace necesaria una profunda innovación y adaptación de las políticas públicas, las legislaciones, y sus instrumentos de gestión asociados, para dar lugar a acciones capaces de mitigar eficazmente los efectos del cambio climático. Este proceso deberá originarse en la recolección, sistematización y análisis de los datos que puedan resultar relevantes, y deberá orientarse hacia la concientización sobre la naturaleza y profundidad de la problemática que se aborda. Asimismo, es imperioso consolidar un sistema de monitoreo que permita detectar con la mayor antelación posible los cambios ambientales y las variaciones en las poblaciones de recursos acuáticos. En línea con lo expuesto, el presente trabajo se centra en la investigación y recopilación de información científica sobre el cambio climático y sus consecuencias sobre la actividad pesquera. El mismo fue realizado por un grupo interdisciplinario de expertos, y constituye el primer avance para aportar información de calidad a los tomadores de decisión, fundamentalmente a quienes tienen la responsabilidad de estructurar e implementar políticas públicas. De hecho, resulta impensable la posibilidad de una planificación estratégica del sector pesquero y acuícola que no contemple la variabilidad ambiental, así como su incidencia y consecuencias. Por ello, este trabajo resulta un aporte fundamental para la formulación de metas y objetivos de gestión, tomando en cuenta la dificultad propia de las determinaciones relacionadas con los recursos acuáticos, así como el desafío que implica asegurar la sustentabilidad del sector, incluyendo en el análisis situacional el impacto de la reciente pandemia, que modificó la actividad normal de las flotas y la explotación de los distintos recursos a lo largo del litoral argentino. En un escenario marcado por la incertidumbre, una planificación certera aunada al compromiso y el esfuerzo mancomunado del sector público y privado, ha demostrado ser una senda virtuosa que se traduce en una productividad que ya supera los niveles anteriores a la pandemia. Sin dudas, esta capacidad de adaptación y cooperación debe dar lugar al sano orgullo por el desenvolvimiento alcanzado. Finalmente, este primer informe nacional sobre las implicancias del cambio climático en las pesquerías argentinas constituye la primera evaluación integral del conocimiento sobre cambio climático y pesquerías en el mar argentino. Su génesis y desarrollo implica la necesidad de una actualización permanente. Esto nos obliga a mantener un vínculo estrecho de colaboración e x intercambio con los distintos investigadores e instituciones públicas y privadas, cuya participación y compromiso desinteresado los hacen merecedores de un especial reconocimiento.
... An alternative to strictly quantitative modeling, but also offering strategic advice, is the Climate Vulnerability Assessment framework, which is designed to systematically identify potential climate change impacts on fisheries social-ecological systems (Hare et al., 2016). This framework has been demonstrated prospectively for the U.S. West Coast albacore fishery, given projected climate changes (Dudley et al., 2021). ...
... Managing fisheries with EBFM can address climate-driven shifts in ecosystems that affect fisheries, including species distribution and ecosystem productivity, and can allow for necessary adjustments in the management system, facilitating long-term sustainable fisheries under climate change . This system level management ideally includes multiple climate-enhanced management tools and approaches (Fig. 11), for example, climate vulnerability assessments (e.g., Hare et al., 2016;Hobday et al., 2011), ecosystem-level indicators that can inform existing harvest rules (e.g., Link, 2010;Link and Watson, 2019;Tam et al., 2017), as well as climate-relevant ecosystem monitoring and regular ecosystem status reports (e.g., Busch et al., 2016;Logan et al., 2020). ...
... So, this article complements related studies that either address consequences of one single stressor, as seen in meta-analyses (Dahlke et al., 2020;Free et al., 2019), or, on the other end of the scale, undertakes expert scorings of multiple stressors for both data-poor and data-rich stocks (Hare et al., 2016;Kjesbu et al., 2022). The current line of research asked for access to vast, in-depth biophysical information, where Atlantic cod was the logical choice as study subject. ...
Article
Full-text available
The reproductive success of marine ectotherms is especially vulnerable in warming oceans due to alterations in adult physiology, as well as embryonic and larval survival prospects. These vital responses may, however, differ considerably across the species' geographical distribution. Here we investigated the life history, focusing on reproductive ecology, of three spatially distant populations (stocks) of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua, Gadidae) (50–80° N), in the Irish/Celtic Seas‐English Channel Complex, North and Barents Seas, under past and projected climate. First, experimental tracking of spawning behaviour evidenced that the ovulation cycle is highly distressed at ≥9.6 (±0.25)°C (Tup). This knife‐edge threshold resulted in erratic spawning frequencies, whereas vitellogenin sequestration remained unaffected, indicating endocrine rather than aerobic scope constraints. Cod in the Celtic Sea‐English Channel are, therefore, expected to show critical stock depensation over the next decades as spawning grounds warm above Tup, with Irish Sea cod subsequently at risk. Second, in the relatively cooler North Sea, the northward retraction of Calanus finmarchicus (Calanidae) and Para‐Pseudocalanus spp. (Clausocalanidae) (1958–2017) limit cod larvae feeding opportunities, particularly in the southernmost subarea. However, the contrasting increase in Calanus helgolandicus (Calanidae) does not counteract this negative effect, likely because cod larvae hatch ahead of its abundance peaks. Overfishing again comes as a twin effect. Third, in the still relatively cold Barents Sea, the sustainably harvested cod benefit from improved food conditions in the recent ice‐free polar region but at the energetic cost of lengthier and faster spawning migrations. Consequently, under climate change local stocks are stressed by different mechanistic factors of varying management severity.
... våre havområder er studien til Kjesbu mfl. (2022). De så på klimasårbarheten til 39 forskjellige bestander i Nordøst-Atlanteren. Dette arbeidet var inspirert av hi.no/hi/nyheter/2020/juni/fiskebestandene-inorske-havomrader-hvem-taper-og-hvem-vinner-nar-havet-blir-varmere. amerikanske kollegaer som så på bestander utenfor den østlige kysten av USA (Hare mfl. 2016). I arbeidet tok de hensyn til lokale og regionale faktorer og tilnaerminger som de vektet ut ifra sin kunnskap. Enkelt sagt viser konklusjonene at frem til 2050, ved det moderate IPCC-scenarioet RCP4,5, vil • varm-temperte bestander få økt produktivitet. • arktiske bestander bli betydelig svekket. • kald-temperte bestander enten gjøre ...
Article
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The uncertainty of future ocean conditions caused by climate change challenges the conventional fisheries management model that assumes resource extraction occurs in a steady-state environment. As managers respond to climate impacts and focus on long-term preparedness, an overarching goal is to minimize the vulnerability of fishing businesses and communities. However, during the adaptation process, challenges can arise when perceptions of climate change vulnerability differ among scientists, managers, and harvesters. A harvester’s perception of their risk to climate change influences their willingness to plan for and respond to change, yet these views are often overlooked in adaptation planning. To better understand this dynamic, we conducted a regional survey to evaluate the perceptions harvesters hold regarding the impacts of climate change on commercially fished species in the Northeastern United States and the resulting risks from those changes. The waters in this region of the Northwest Atlantic shelf are warming faster than the global average resulting in shifting distributions of species, altered seasonal migrations, and changes in productivity. Respondents’ perceptions aligned with an analysis conducted by scientists on the directionality of climate impacts for 12 out of 27 (44%) of the most commercially important species in the region. Additionally, an understanding of the variability in perceptions of climate change vulnerability emerged: 72% of respondents believe climate change is occurring, 53% believe climate change will harm them personally, and 28% have already seen a negative impact on their ability to catch fish. Respondents who believe that climate change is occurring had higher perceptions of vulnerability on average than those who do not believe it is occurring. Despite a sense of vulnerability to climate change, respondents did not rank it among the top three concerns (fisheries regulations, market access, and access to working waterfronts) for their fishing businesses. Investigating harvester’s perceptions is an opportunity to share their experiences and understand the diversity of perspectives regarding the impacts of climate change. Increasing the inclusion of social science indicators and diverse perspectives will increase climate resilience of fisheries management.
Chapter
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Climate models have continued to be developed and improved since the AR4, and many models have been extended into Earth System models by including the representation of biogeochemical cycles important to climate change. These models allow for policy-relevant calculations such as the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compatible with a specified climate stabilization target. In addition, the range of climate variables and processes that have been evaluated has greatly expanded, and differences between models and observations are increasingly quantified using ‘performance metrics’. In this chapter, model evaluation covers simulation of the mean climate, of historical climate change, of variability on multiple time scales and of regional modes of variability. This evaluation is based on recent internationally coordinated model experiments, including simulations of historic and paleo climate, specialized experiments designed to provide insight into key climate processes and feedbacks and regional climate downscaling. Figure 9.44 provides an overview of model capabilities as assessed in this chapter, including improvements, or lack thereof, relative to models assessed in the AR4. The chapter concludes with an assessment of recent work connecting model performance to the detection and attribution of climate change as well as to future projections.
Technical Report
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In 2014, NOAA Fisheries conducted a nationwide survey of anglers about their annual purchases of durable goods used for saltwater recreational fishing. Data on angler expenditures allows NOAA Fisheries to better understand the economic contributions of marine recreational fishing to the nations’ economy. The sample frame consisted of licensed anglers in coastal states across the U.S. Anglers were asked about their purchases of durable goods such as rods and reels, boats, vehicles, and second homes used for saltwater fishing in the prior 12 months in the state of licensure. Across all coastal states, a total of 10,809 completed surveys were returned with an overall response rate of 11 percent. Mean expenditures for different durable good categories were estimated for both resident and non-resident fishermen in each state. Total expenditures were calculated and used to estimate total economic contributions by state and for the nation. At the national level marine anglers spent $28 billion on fishing equipment and durable goods (e.g., fishing rods, fishing tackle, and boats). These expenditures generated an estimated $49.6 billion in total output, added $29 billion in contribution to gross domestic product, contributed $18 billion to personal income, and supported more than 358 thousand jobs across the United States. I. INTRODUCTION
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