Gregory L. Britten's research while affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other places

Publications (47)

Article
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Climate projections are highly uncertain; this uncertainty is costly and impedes progress on climate policy. This uncertainty is primarily parametric (what numbers do we plug into our equations?) and structural (what equations do we use in the first place?). The former is straightforward to characterise in principle, though may be computationally i...
Article
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The Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF) is a dynamic region of elevated chlorophyll concentrations in the Northeast Pacific that migrates from a southern winter (February) extent of approximately 30°N to a northern summer (August) extent of approximately 40°N. The transition zone has been highlighted as important habitat for marine animals and...
Article
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Imbalanced anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) have significantly increased the ratio between N and P globally, degrading ecosystem productivity and environmental quality. Lakes represent a large global nutrient sink, modifying the flow of N and P in the environment. It remains unknown, however, the relative retention of these t...
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The North Atlantic phytoplankton bloom depends on a confluence of environmental factors that drive transient periods of exponential phytoplankton growth and interannual variability in bloom magnitude. I analyze interannual bloom variability in the North Atlantic via extreme value theory where the generalized extreme value distribution (GEVD) is fit...
Preprint
\textbf{Abstract:} Climate projections are highly uncertain; this uncertainty is costly and impedes progress on climate policy. This uncertainty is primarily parametric (what numbers do we plug into our equations?) and structural (what equations do we use in the first place?). The former is straightforward to characterise in principle, though may b...
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Over the past 4 decades there has been a growing concern for the conservation status of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). In 2002, the first elasmobranch species were added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Less than 20 yr later, there were 39 species on Appendix II and 5 o...
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Are the oceans turning into deserts? Rising temperature, increasing surface stratification, and decreasing vertical inputs of nutrients are expected to cause an expansion of warm, nutrient deplete ecosystems. Such an expansion is predicted to negatively affect a trio of key ocean biogeochemical features: phytoplankton biomass, primary productivity,...
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Marine diazotrophs fix dinitrogen gas into bioavailable nitrogen that drives the ocean nitrogen cycle; yet, efforts to infer global diazotroph distributions have been limited by a sparsity of observations. In situ measurements of nifH gene abundance (essential for nitrogen fixation) are increasingly being used to inform the biogeography of diazotro...
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Toxic phytoplankton have been detrimental to the fishing and aquaculture industry on the east coast of Tasmania, causing millions of dollars in loss due to contaminated seafood. In 2012–2017, shellfish stocks were poisoned by Alexandrium catenella, a dinoflagellate species that produces paralytic shellfish toxins (PST). Remote sensing data may prov...
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The rates of cell growth, division, and carbon loss of microbial populations are key parameters for understanding how organisms interact with their environment and how they contribute to the carbon cycle. However, the invasive nature of current analytical methods has hindered efforts to reliably quantify these parameters. In recent years, size-stru...
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Projections of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems have revealed long-term declines in global marine animal biomass and unevenly distributed impacts on fisheries. Here we apply an enhanced suite of global marine ecosystem models from the Fisheries and Marine Ecosystem Model Intercomparison Project (Fish-MIP), forced by new-generation Earth...
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Concerns over overexploitation have fueled an ongoing debate on the current state and future prospects of global capture fisheries, associated threats to marine biodiversity, and declining yields available for human consumption. Management reforms have aimed to reduce fishing pressure and recover depleted stocks to biomass and exploitation rates th...
Preprint
Full-text available
The rates of cell growth, division, and carbon loss of microbial populations are key parameters for understanding how organisms interact with their environment and how they contribute to the carbon cycle. However, the invasive nature of current analytical methods has hindered efforts to reliably quantify these parameters. In recent years, size-stru...
Article
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Small-scale fisheries are critically important for livelihoods around the world, particularly in tropical regions. However, climate variability and anthropogenic climate change may seriously impact small-scale fisheries by altering the abundance and distribution of target species. Social relationships between fishery users, such as fish traders, ca...
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03271-2.
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Sinking particles are critical to the ocean's “biological pump,” sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Particles' sinking speeds are a primary factor determining fluxes and subsequent ecological and climatic impacts. While size is a key determinant of particles' sinking speeds, observations suggest a variable size‐sinking relationship, affected...
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Large compilations of heterogeneous environmental observations are increasingly available as public databases, allowing researchers to test hypotheses across datasets. Statistical complexities arise when analyzing compiled data due to unbalanced spatial sampling, variable environmental context, mixed measurement techniques, and other reasons. Hiera...
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Marine ecosystem models predict a decline in fish production with anthropogenic ocean warming, but how fish production equilibrates to warming on longer timescales is unclear. We report a positive nonlinear correlation between ocean temperature and pelagic fish production during the extreme global warmth of the Early Paleogene Period (62-46 million...
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Carbonyl sulfide (COS) was measured in firn air collected during seven different field campaigns carried out at four different sites in Greenland and Antarctica between 2001 and 2015. A Bayesian probabilistic statistical model is used to conduct multisite inversions and to reconstruct separate atmospheric histories for Greenland and Antarctica. The...
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The international legal trade in wildlife can provide economic and other benefits, but when unsustainable can be a driver of population declines. This impact is magnified by the additional burden of illegal trade, yet how it covaries with legal trade remains little explored. We combined law‐enforcement time‐series of seizures of wildlife goods impo...
Article
Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the United Nations aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. Achieving this goal will require rebuilding the marine life-support systems that deliver the many benefits that society receives from a healthy ocean. Here we document the recovery of marine...
Preprint
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The international legal trade in wildlife can provide economic and other benefits, but when unsustainable can be a driver of population declines. This impact is enhanced by the additional burden of illegal trade. We combined law-enforcement time-series of seizures of wildlife goods imported into the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) wi...
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Interannual oceanic oscillations, climate change, and extreme events present a significant and complex challenge to management of pelagic fisheries. In recent years, anomalous oceanographic and atmospheric conditions have been reported across the northeast Pacific, yet research results concerning the biophysical mechanisms impacting specific organisms,...
Article
The population dynamics of forage fish are often ‘boom or bust’, and variation in recruitment may be a contributing factor to changes in abundance. Here we applied several methods for identifying stock recruit relationships (SRR) to 52 forage fish stocks: a time-invariant Ricker model and two time-varying methods (dynamic linear models and regime-b...
Article
Starving ocean productivity Projected increases in greenhouse gas emissions could suppress marine biological productivity for a thousand years or more. As the climate warms, westerly winds in the Southern Hemisphere will strengthen and shift poleward, surface waters will warm, and sea ice will disappear. Moore et al. suggest that one effect of thes...
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Synechococcus are ubiquitous and cosmopolitan cyanobacteria that play important roles in global productivity and biogeochemical cycles. This study investigated the fine scale microdiversity, seasonal patterns, and spatial distributions of Synechococcus in estuarine waters of Little Sippewissett salt marsh (LSM) on Cape Cod, MA. The proportion of Sy...
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Rebuilding depleted fish stocks is an international policy goal and a 2020 Aichi target under the Convention on Biological Diversity. However, stock productivity may shift with future climate change, with unknown consequences for sustainable harvesting, biomass targets and recovery timelines. Here we develop a stochastic modelling framework to char...
Data
Supplementary Figures, Supplementary Table and Supplementary References
Article
Carbon export from the Southern Ocean exerts a strong control on the ocean carbon sink, yet recent observations from the region demonstrate poorly understood relationships in which carbon export efficiency is weakly related to temperature. These observations conflict with traditional theory where export efficiency increases in colder waters. A rece...
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Mass conservation and metabolic theory place constraints on how marine export production (EP) scales with net primary productivity (NPP) and sea surface temperature (SST); however, little is empirically known about how these relationships vary across ecologically distinct ocean biomes. Here we compiled in situ observations of EP, NPP, and SST and u...
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Szuwalski (1) suggests that our meta-analysis of global changes in fish stock recruitment capacity (2) should be weighted according to the biomass or catch of individual stocks, instead of weighting each stock equally. Although informative, it is important to recognize that such a perspective heavily biases any global trends in favor of a few large...
Article
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Significance Marine fish stocks play an important role in marine ecosystems and provide a source of protein for billions of people worldwide. Recent environmental changes have affected the distribution of many stocks, but it is yet unclear whether their productivity is affected as well. We show that recruitment capacity (the ability of stocks to pr...
Article
In 2010, the international community, under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity, agreed on 20 biodiversity-related “Aichi Targets” to be achieved within a decade. We provide a comprehensive mid-term assessment of progress toward these global targets using 55 indicator data sets. We projected indicator trends to 2020 using an adap...
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Fisheries exploitation has caused widespread declines in marine predators. Theory predicts that predator depletion will destabilise lower trophic levels, making natural communities more vulnerable to environmental perturbations. However, empirical evidence has been limited. Using a community matrix model, we empirically assessed trends in the stabi...
Article
The successful management of shark populations requires juvenile recruitment success. Thus, conservation initiatives now strive to include the protection of areas used by pre-adult sharks in order to promote juvenile survivorship. Many shark species use inshore areas for early life stages; however, species often segregate within sites to reduce com...
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Productivity is a central determinant of population dynamics with consequences for population viability, resilience to exploitation, and extinction. In fish, the strength of a cohort is typically established during early life stages. Traditional approaches to measuring productivity do not allow for interannual variation in the maximum reproductive...
Article
Whereas many land predators disappeared before their ecological roles were studied, the decline of marine apex predators is still unfolding. Large sharks in particular have experienced rapid declines over the last decades. In this study, we review the documented changes in exploited elasmobranch communities in coastal, demersal, and pelagic habitat...

Citations

... While eroded soil from agricultural elds has long been known to contribute to watershed P export, recent efforts have also highlighted the potential for other landscape components, such as lakes and near channel environments (i.e., riparian corridors, stream banks and bluffs, and riparian wetlands), to modify the transport of P to riverine environments. For example, lakes, riparian buffers and wetlands can trap P as net sinks, but after long term, high enrichment have the potential to become sources of dissolved P to river networks (Dodds and Sharpley, 2015; Wu et al., 2022). Stream bank and bluff erosion can also be an important source of particulate P to river networks (Schilling et al. 2021). ...
... Overfishing threatens 91.8% of all rays, and habitat loss and climate change are additional threats to 20.7% of these species (Dulvy et al. 2021). Despite the alarming conservation status, critical habitats used during their life cycle, such as nursery, maternity, mating and feeding grounds, are still unknown for many ray species (Becerril-García et al. 2022;Jorgensen et al. 2022 and females at about 85 cm DL (Silva et al. 2007). Due to the relatively recent evolutionary divergence between H. berthalutzae and H. americanus, the former is expected to have similar life-history traits (Charvet et al. 2020). ...
... Gamma A, Gamma 4, and a -proteobacterium of the order Oceanospirilalles isolated by Ratten (2017) ("Gamma OcSpi"), as well as the most data-rich Cluster 3 phylotype ("ClusterIII-C"; Church et al., Reporting non-detects is also useful for efforts to model diazotroph distributions (Meiler et al., 2022) and ...
... While a thorough analysis has not appeared in the published literature to date, it is hypothesized the reduced ecosystem sensitivity of CMIP6 models relative to earlier CMIP initiatives may be due to increased ecological complexity, such as the implementation of adaptive strategies or flexible stoichiometries, which permit greater resiliency in the simulated ecosystems to perturbation [47]. Community resiliency in the face of multiple stressors is a phenomenon reported in the real ocean [48][49][50] as well as in adaptive modelling frameworks [51]. Whether similar resiliency might exist in natural ecosystems to micro-or nanoplastics pollution effects is unknown, and there is concern that a growing toxicity debt [20] might eventually overwhelm ecosystems' ability to adapt. ...
... Remote sensing enables the evaluation of the spatial and temporal variability of water quality worldwide, overcoming the lack of data from new, remote, or large marine areas. This has led to several applications of remote sensing in bivalve mollusk aquaculture, including spatial planning [1][2][3][4][5], early detection of harmful algal blooms [6][7][8][9][10][11], and detection of microbial contamination [12,13]. Among the different water quality parameters of interest that can be measured by sensors from satellites, chlorophyll-a concentration is commonly used in bivalve mollusk aquaculture because it is considered the best proxy of phytoplankton biomass [14], which is one of the ecosystem component Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) [15,16]. ...
... Coupled Earth system models (ESMs) used to study global climate change include biogeochemistry within their ocean models because of the outsized role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle (e.g., Friedlingstein et al., 2020) and thus the climate system. Also, plankton food web dynamics from these ESMs are increasingly used in marine ecosystem models as forcings that represent the base of marine food webs (e.g., Harrison et al., 2021;Heneghan et al., 2021;Lotze et al., 2019;Tittensor et al., 2018Tittensor et al., , 2021. Many of these marine ecosystem models use phytoplankton outputs from ESMs, which have undergone formal skill assessment in terms of chlorophyll a or net primary production in comparison to satellite-based products (Bopp et al., 2013;Fu et al., 2015Fu et al., , 2022Kwiatkowski et al., 2020;Laufkötter et al., 2015;Séférian et al., 2020). ...
... Shark depredation, in particular, has become a focal issue in a range of commercial, small-scale and recreational fishing contexts (Mitchell et al. 2018a). Depredation is a form of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) that has become a highly topical and emotive subject in many regions and generates polarising views due to its intersection with the broader context of fisheries management issues, such as declining fish stocks (Britten et al. 2021), increased recreational fishing participation (Arlinghaus et al. 2021) and the global push towards conserving historically over-harvested and potentially now recovering shark populations (Carlson et al. 2019;Pacoureau et al. 2021). There are a range of negative biological, economic, and social impacts from shark depredation, including, but not limited to, increased mortality of target species, loss or damage of catch and fishing gear and associated revenue, damage to the fishing experience (especially for recreational fishers), increasingly hostile views towards sharks, and retaliatory killing of sharks. ...
... During anomalously warm years, squid catch volume declines but value increases as the resource becomes scarcer (Elsler et al., 2021). For most fishers, this means catching proportionally less squid and diversifying to other species. ...
... Even though our survey revealed relatively little use of Bayesian analyses, our research has found that Britten et al., 2021 [48] explicitly quantified the advantages of Bayesian hierarchical modeling when assisting researchers in selecting the most appropriate methodology to use when collecting heterogeneous environmental data sets. Using Bayesian models with Laplace approximations and stochastic partial differential equation, Tumusiime et al., 2022 [49] estimated the risk of Rift Valley fever based on animal level factors and meteorological factors. ...
... Other biogeochemical models simply incorporate size through discrete size classes, with a large, fast-sinking fraction, and a small, slow-sinking fraction (Aumont et al., 2015;Swart et al., 2019;Yool et al., 2021). The lack of mechanistic understanding as to how well size constrains sinking velocity has resulted in a variety of size-sinking relationships in Earth system models, which yield up to order of magnitude differences in sinking velocity for particles of the same size, and introduce uncertainty into flux prediction and biogeochemical models (Cael et al., 2021;Niemeyer et al., 2019). Since plankton models additionally suggest a decrease in cell size with warming, constraining sinking velocities in an accurate mechanistic fashion is of importance for the accurate modeling of climate change projections (Cael et al., 2021;Finkel et al., 2010). ...