Work Package 3: Ecosystem resilience and climate change in a spatially structured and seasonal environment

Leader: Joël Durant, NTNU

Shifts in species distributions, both spatially and temporally, caused by environmental changes will alter species interactions and can have important ecological consequences with regards to management implications (WP5). For example, cod larvae are susceptible to predation and competition from adult herring and mackerel during their drift depending on the spatial extend of those (48).

We will use an existing (SVIM) and a new and improved hydrography model archive to be developed with to get the spatial and time dependent distribution of egg and larvae in the BS. With this new information we will explore how spatial and seasonal aspects may affect the interactions between the prey (fish larvae) and the harvested predators (pelagic fish). We thereby aim to improve our ability to predict how changes in one part of the ecosystem, e.g., harvesting of a predator species, may translate into changes in other ecosystem component, which has profound implications for management. In addition, we will develop a mathematical framework for modelling how changes in age-size structure may affect population responses to climate-driven shifts in predator-prey phenology.

We will use the structured frameworks introduced in WP1 and 2. These models allow the explicit link to individual-level data, which is crucial for understanding the underlying mechanism of climate impacts at the population and ecosystem levels. Using this theoretical approach in connection with empirical data from our focal systems, we will address the question of which management strategies may facilitate/diminish population resilience under changing environmental conditions.

The insight coming from this WP will be of great value to the development of new harvesting strategies including interactions among species (WP5).