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

Publications (46)

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...
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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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...
Article
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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...
Article
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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...
Article
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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...
Article
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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...
Article
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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...
Article
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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
Full-text available
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...
Article
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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
Climate change projections to the year 2100 may miss physical-biogeochemical feedbacks that emerge later from the cumulative effects of climate warming. In a coupled climate simulation to the year 2300, the westerly winds strengthen and shift poleward, surface waters warm, and sea ice disappears, leading to intense nutrient trapping in the Southern...
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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...
Article
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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...
Article
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...
Article
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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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Marine fish and invertebrates are shifting their regional and global distributions in response to climate change, but it is unclear whether their productivity is being affected as well. Here we tested for time-varying trends in biological productivity parameters across 262 fish stocks of 127 species in 39 large marine ecosystems and high-seas areas...
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...
Article
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...
Article
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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

... Omics has revealed diverse N 2 fixers including the unicellular cyanobacteria Crocosphaera and UCYN-A, and endosymbiotic and heterotrophic diazotrophs (Mehta et al., 2003;Church et al., 2005;Martínez-Pérez et al., 2016). But, nif gene abundance does not directly equate to either diazotroph abundance-and biomass-based biogeographic "currencies" (Meiler et al., 2022) or to N 2 fixation rates (Turk-Kubo et al., 2013). Transcriptomics and proteomics targeting nif genes provide more relevant information about nitrogenase activity than genomics. ...
... The adaptive potential of phytoplankton will likely play an important role in their shortand long-term responses to climate change (Collins et al. 2014;Rynearson et al. 2022;Martiny et al. 2022). Given the ecological and biogeochemical importance of phytoplankton and increases in SST taking place in the SO (Fan et al. 2014, Tonelli et al. 2021, the capacity of phytoplankton to adapt to and grow in elevated SST has immediate relevance. ...
... For example, by 2100 tropical areas could lose up to 200 suitable plant growing days per year due to climate change 1 . Likewise, fishable biomass in the ocean could drop by up to 40% in some tropical areas 2,3 . While understanding the magnitude of losses that climate change is expected to create in key food production sectors is crucial, it is the social dimensions of vulnerability that determine the degree to which societies are likely to be affected by these changes [4][5][6][7][8] . ...
... Scientifically assessed stocks have on average improved since 2005 (15,26). However, even in these well-managed fisheries, management decision methods may be particularly sensitive to state uncertainty inherent in assessing status of stocks, introducing substantial uncertainty in expectations of stock recovery (28,29). ...
... 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. ...
... However, many distribution models have limited transferability due to niche shifts of IAS (Early and Sax 2014), inclusion of too many predictors that do not directly affect target species (Rödder et al. 2009;Petitpierre et al. 2017) and failure to correctly consider spatial processes (Veloz 2009;Gallien et al. 2012). The Bayesian framework is particularly suitable to build hierarchical models that simultaneously consider multiple processes, such as models determining species detection and occupancy while incorporating spatial processes (Britten et al. 2021;Falaschi et al. 2021). However, these approaches have been rarely used in the framework of invasibility (Pukk et al. 2021). ...
... /fclim. . in all cases were dominantly nondescript aggregates rather than e.g., living large diatom or dinoflagellate cells, we interpret these to be detrital particulate material contributing to particulate stocks, dynamics, and fluxes, and hence focus on their size, which is a key determinant of particle cycling and fluxes (Bianchi et al., 2018;Cael et al., 2021). If alkalinity addition changes the distribution of particle sizes, samples will follow a different slope of log(size) vs. log(number). ...
... In a complex ecological environment, the competitive relationships between species fluctuates with environmental changes, resulting in the niches' changes in phytoplankton community in different periods it (Li et al., 2018;Britten and Sibert, 2020). The realized (i.e., actually exploited) niche width of P. limnetica varied greatly over the years, which may be due to the biological characteristics of planktonic cyanobacteria that can adapt to changing habitat, reflecting in a change in its distribution pattern (Kamennaya et al., 2018). ...
... The pathway for COS uptake in leaves is very similar to the pathway for δ 18 O, involving diffusion through stomata and hydration by carbonic anhydrase (121). Relatively minor contributions to the COS budget are made by emissions from volcanos, anoxic soils, wetlands, and removal by oxidation in the troposphere and stratosphere (122). COS has a relatively short lifetime of <2 years based mainly on the rapid hydration in leaves and soils (122). ...
... The international wildlife trade poses one of the greatest threats to species globally (Symes et al., 2018). In several taxa, the extent of illegal trade is estimated to be greater than legal (Sajeva et al., 2013;Norconk et al., 2020;Tittensor et al., 2020), with recommendations for illegal wildlife trade (IWT) to be recognised as a more severe crime within the framework of countries' national legislative systems (UNODC, 2020). Africa is a vital wildlife source continent for IWT (Esmail et al., 2020). ...