Funded Projects

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Year Funded: 2017   |   Development of Robust Management Strategies for Northeast Groundfish Fisheries in a Changing Climate - Gulf of Maine Research Institut

Principal Investigator (s) : Lisa Kerr Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)

Co-Investigator (s) : Andrew Pershing, GMRI; Gavin Fay and Steven Cadrin, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; and Sarah Gaichas, Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Collaborators (s) :

The Northeast U.S. Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NESLME) has warmed over the last decade, with a long-term warming trend that is four times the global average rate and recent decadal warming that is faster than 99.9% of the global ocean. Climate-mediated change in this region is unprecedented, and the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries resources, such as changes in productivity, are increasing. Once abundant and supporting a profitable fishing industry, some groundfish stocks in the NESLME, such as Georges Bank cod, have declined to record-low biomass in recent years, whereas others, such as Georges Bank haddock, have increased to record-high biomass. Shifts in the productivity of Northeast groundfish may reflect individual species responses to recent warming and associated oceanographic changes. The goal of our proposed research is to develop fisheries management procedures that consider climate-driven changes and evaluate whether they result in more adaptive, successful management of groundfish species given forecasted climate change in the NESLME. Our proposed research will: 1) evaluate how principal groundfish stocks will respond to regional climate change, 2) investigate plausible approaches to tailoring fisheries management procedures to the prevailing environmental state, including climate-informed or climate-responsive stock assessments, biological reference points, and harvest control rules, and 3) quantify the expected ecological and economic performance of alternative fisheries management procedures in a changing climate. We will apply Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) to address our objectives. At the center of our MSE approach will be a series of operating models that incorporate mechanistic relationships between life history processes and temperature to simulate the population dynamics of two principal groundfish stocks (i.e. Georges Bank Atlantic cod and haddock stocks). These models will be simulated under alternative temperature scenarios that capture future projected climate change in the NESLME. We will then simulate sampling these stocks through the fishery and through scientific surveys. The simulated data will be used to assess the stocks using standard stock assessment models and models that allow for non-stationarity or incorporate temperature information directly into process equations. Additionally, we will develop and test biological reference points and alternative methods of advice setting that both capture non- stationarity in aspects of productivity and directly integrate temperature. We will combine economic metrics with biomass-related and yield metrics derived from the MSE to provide a comprehensive view of the economic and ecological risks and returns of the alternative fisheries management strategies. We will develop an interactive web application for synthesizing the results of the MSE and use this as a tool to communicate with stakeholders. This research specifically addresses the COCA priorities of identification and evaluation of robust management strategies, adaptive management processes, and climate-informed reference points. This work will also contribute to key objectives of NOAA’s Next Generation Strategic Plan, including improved understanding of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems and development of strategies to meet the societal challenges associated with these changes. The approaches tested in this project will be shared broadly within the region and the insight gained by this study will be directly applicable to other U.S. fisheries.

Year Funded: 2017   |   Climate-fisheries Dynamics: Individual-based End-to-end Sea Scallop Model with Socio-Economic Feedbacks - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Principal Investigator (s) : Rubao Ji, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Co-Investigator (s) : Cabell Davis, Robert Beardsley, Di Jin, and Porter Hoagland, WHOI; Changsheng Chen, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Collaborators (s) : Eric Thunberg, Min-Yang Lee, Burton Shank and Deborah Hart, Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Introduction/rationale — Climate-ocean physical-biological models have great potential for advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management, but they have yet to be fully applied in this context. Science input to fisheries management for the NESLME remains largely based on individual species stock assessments, but a deeper understanding of the underlying ecological processes is critical for developing adaptive management strategies in a variable and changing climate. The proposed modeling study will implement a new ecologically based approach with adaptive fisheries management in the NESLME, providing insights into how scenarios of future climate change could impact fisheries in this region. The proposed study focuses on the sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus fishery, in economic terms one of the most important fisheries in the region. The biological characteristics and ecological role of the sea scallop make it a logical species for testing the capabilities of our proposed approach.

Objectives/work summary — The overall objective of this proposal is to gain insights into the impacts of climate change on the NESLME sea scallop fishery and to characterize adaptive management strategies that are robust to climate variability and change. The proposed end-to-end scallop model will be built on an existing modeling system, in which concentration-based lower food-web and individual-based larval transport models have been incorporated a high-resolution 3D hydrodynamic model to study climate-forced ecosystem dynamics, plankton production, connectivity, and recruitment success in the NESLME. The proposed study will extend our individual-based full-life-cycle model of sea scallops to examine multi-scale forcing on system productivity, recruitment, and adult stock size. This biological-physical model will be coupled with a socioeconomic model to assess the potential for adaptive management strategies to achieve reference points comprising measures of fishery performance, such as yield, net present value, spawning biomass, or employment, among others. The regional physical model is contained within a global ocean model, which provides boundary conditions and multi-scale physical forcing. A physical hindcast has been completed for the period 1978-present and is currently used in ocean forecasting. An existing hindcast of lower-food web dynamics will be extended to cover the period 1978-present. An individual-based, full-life-cycle model of sea scallops will be used together with historical data on sea scallop distributions to develop a 40-yr hindcast for this species. The coupled model will be used to examine effects of temperature, food, and ocean acidification on scallop dynamics and stock size. Scenarios of future climate change (IPCC RPC2.6 and RPC8.5) will be used to develop probabilistic forecasts of the ecosystem and sea scallop stocks in the NESLME from the present out to 2100. A bioeconomic model framework, including adaptive management strategies of the sea scallop fishery, will be implemented to evaluate the effects of climate and stock changes on the achievement of alternative measures of fishery performance, including fishing location, revenue and cost, fishing port geography, and fishing community vulnerability.

Relevance – The proposed study directly addresses the six priorities of this NESLME competition and the objectives of NOAA’s Next Generation Strategic Plan and Fisheries Climate Science Strategy. The comprehensive modeling approach, linking climate to ecosystem-based fisheries management and socioeconomics, is the top priority for the Northeast Regional Action Plan. The project advances the integration of climate impacts into NOAA fisheries stewardship.

Year Funded: 2017   |   Climate Induced Habitat Changes in Commercial Fish Stocks - The Nature Conservancy, URI Bay Campus

Principal Investigator (s) : Richard Bell, The Nature Conservancy, URI Bay Campus

Co-Investigator (s) :

Collaborators (s) : John Manderson and David Richardson, Northeast Fisheries Science Center; Enrique Curchitser, Rutgers University; Mark Anderson, Marta Ribera and Jenn Greene, The Nature Conservancy

Climate change is altering the distribution and abundance of fish species in ways not anticipated by current management policy. We aim to inform sustainable fisheries management by creating spatially-explicit, dynamic models of marine habitats that can improve stock assessments and project stocks into the future for thirty commercially important species on the Northeast Shelf. Improving upon methods used in the 2014 Butterfish stock assessment, we will expand the dimensions of habitat included in the models by integrating substrate, and seabed features along with the dynamic properties of the water column that change on daily to decadal time scales. We propose to develop the thermal-benthic habitat suitability index for thirty species and then project the suitable habitat into the future with downscaled earth system models. While studies projecting species temperature envelopes into the future have been done, they have rarely been explicitly developed to improve stock assessments or combined both the water column and seafloor to get a true picture of climate induced habitat changes. The work would provide direct benefit to management by identifying changes in the availability of populations to surveys, commercial fisheries, future bycatch issues, the potential need for quota reallocation, and highlighting stocks both leaving and entering new management areas. The suitable habitat will integrate the benthic features to determine how habitat will expand, shrink, and/or fragment in the future. With data from the Northeast Fishery Science Center (NEFSC) trawl survey, the NorthEast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program survey (NEAMAP), State surveys and the benthic information from the Northeast Regional Assessment, we will determine the mechanistic thermal-benthic habitat response curve for each species, and map out the spatial extent of the suitable habitat for different years and seasons with regional ocean models. The dynamic 3-D habitat models linking the water column with seafloor features for each species will then be projected into the future with downscaled earth system models to examine how future fish habitat will change, expand or fragment under future climate conditions. The current overlap of species as well as future overlap will be identified, highlighting potential regulatory changes needed as species move into new areas. The management implications include quota allocations, management jurisdictional changes, and bycatch impacts. Our proposal directly responds to NOAA’s goals as outlined in the Next Generation Strategic Plan. It primarily addresses objective one of the Healthy Oceans Goal, to Improved understanding of ecosystems to inform resource management decisions. The research would improve the understanding of the impacts of climate variability and change on habitat which directly regulates the abundance and distribution of managed fish stocks. Our intent is to utilize these current and historic data sets to improve the synthesis, analysis, and application of climate and marine ecosystem observations and monitoring information to improve fisheries management.

Year Funded: 2017   |   Understanding Climate Impacts on American Shad Recovery, Fisheries Management, and Influences of Dams - State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oneonta

Principal Investigator (s) : Daniel Stich, State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oneonta

Co-Investigator (s) : Timothy Sheehan, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Katherine Mills, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Collaborators (s) :

Introduction and Rationale: American shad, Alosa sapidissima, is an anadromous fish that historically supported economically and culturally important fisheries. The species has declined throughout its range due to changing ocean climate, commercial fisheries, and hydropower dams. In response, NOAA Fisheries Services’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center has undertaken the development of quantitative support tools to quantify the impacts of dam passage performance standards (passage rates and survival) on the productivity of various shad stocks in the Northeast U.S. These models allow for incorporation of uncertainty in life-history parameters, behavioral ecology, human impacts, and environmental drivers. Climate change scenarios have not been integrated into the existing model. This is a critical omission as changing temperatures can significantly alter population productivity through a number of mechanisms that would impact growth and survival in marine and freshwater habitats, as well as the timing, duration, and success of spawning migrations. Riverine and marine temperatures have the potential to influence the net productivity of a population; consequently, changing climate might favor drastically different management strategies with respect to fisheries harvest or dam passage.

Summary of Work: This study proposes to evaluate the influences of multiple factors on the recovery and productivity potential of several American shad stocks in the Northeast U.S. through the integration of climate uncertainty into existing decision support tools. Climate uncertainty will be incorporated by: i) hindcasting historical impacts of ocean temperatures on American shad growth to establish climate-informed reference points; ii) integrating temperature projections from multiple climate models into American shad models to improve resilience of management decisions related to fishery harvest and dam passage; and iii) assessing sensitivity of model projections to climate change in concert with fishery harvest, dam passage performance standards, and uncertainty in life history and ecology of this species.

Relevance to Competition: The proposed work targets Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA), Competition II: Understanding Climate Impacts on Fish Stocks and Fisheries in the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. The quantitative consideration of uncertainties associated with life-history characteristics, population benchmarks, and climate change will make management of fishery harvest and dam impacts more robust and resilient. The proposed work also addresses multiple sub-objectives in the NOAA Next-Generation Strategic Plan under the following long-term goals: i) Climate Adaptation and Mitigation; ii) Healthy Oceans; and iii) Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies. This project will directly assess the sensitivity of population productivity and recovery to interactions between predicted climate change, fishery harvest, and management of fish passage as a holistic approach to understanding influences on sustainability of management decisions. The resulting decision-making tool will allow managers to consider uncertainty in climate change and life-history parameters in the decisions they must make with respect to the management of fishery harvest and dam passage for adults and juveniles. The incorporation of temperature effects through multiple biological pathways constitutes a relatively unique approach to fishery stock assessment that will promote resiliency and sustainability in long-term decision making. This tool is readily extended across multiple systems and can support the development of American shad management plans throughout the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem.

Year Funded: 2017   |   From Physics to Fisheries: A Social-Ecological Management Strategy Evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem - University of California Santa Cruz, NOAA Earth Systems Research Lab (ESRL), University of South Carolina, Rutgers University

Principal Investigator (s) : Michael Jacox, University of California Santa Cruz

Co-Investigator (s) : Michael Alexander, NOAA ESRL; Enrique Curchitser, Rutgers University; Ryan Rykaczewski, University of South Carolina

Collaborators (s) :

The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) supports highly valuable fisheries, including those on coastal pelagic (CPS) and highly migratory (HMS) fish species. The productivity and distribution of CPS and HMS species in the CCLME have been impacted by recent climate variability (NOAA, 2016). Thus, there is potential for climate-forced changes in the productivity and spatial distributions of these species to affect ecosystem processes, fisheries operations, and fisheries management (Link et al., 2015), ultimately causing socio-economic impacts on fishing communities. To be able to sustain their mandate of maintaining a resilient CCLME ecosystem and fishing economy, US federal fisheries managers in the CCLME must understand how managed species, and the ecosystem that supports them, respond to climate-induced change. There is therefore a clear need to identify science-based policies that can achieve these management objectives under a changing climate. We propose to develop an end-to-end framework to identify climate-resilient management strategies for the CCLME and evaluate the impacts of climate change on US-managed marine species and fishing communities in the CCLME. Key elements of the proposed work plan are: (1) Produce regional climate projections of fishery-relevant variables such as temperature and chlorophyll biomass for the CCLME, using output from global climate models to force a high resolution regional ocean circulation model (ROMS) coupled with a biogeochemical model (2) Use these projections in conjunction with ecological and socio-economic models to predict productivity and distribution changes in managed species in the CCLME, and the socio-economic impacts of these changes on fishing communities; (3) Evaluate current catch advice and spatial management strategies for the Pacific sardine, albacore, and swordfish fisheries given the potential future impacts of climate variability and change; (4) Use management scenarios to consider the socio-economic impacts on fishery participants and affected fishing communities; (5) Explore possible policy and management responses to climate change impacts on sardine, albacore, and swordfish fisheries.

Year Funded: 2015   |   Evaluating Social‐Ecological Vulnerability and Climate Adaptation Strategies for Northeast U.S. Fishing Communities

Principal Investigator (s) : Katherine Mills (Gulf of Maine Research Institute)

Co-Investigator (s) : Jenny Sun (GMRI), Steve Eayrs (GMRI), Jonathan Labaree (GMRI), Troy Hartley (Virginia Institute of Marine Science), Jon Hare (Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory), Lisa Colburn (Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory), Eric Thunberg (NOAA Fisheries)

Collaborators (s) :

Climate change is affecting marine ecosystems, fish populations, and fisheries that depend on them. Marine waters of the Northeast Shelf have warmed rapidly over the past decade, and as a result, the impacts of climate variability and change are being felt acutely in this region. In the Northeast United States, the conversation around climate and fisheries is moving from a discussion of impacts on fish populations to a discussion of impacts on fisheries and fishing communities. Fishermen and fishing communities are already recognizing the need for new scientific information to understand vulnerabilities to climate variability and climate change and to identify adaptation options at local scales and within time frames relevant to decision-making.

This project will advance the science needed to assess climate vulnerabilities for Northeast fishing communities and evaluate strategies to support adaptation to both climate variability and climate change. Our goal is to develop a social-ecological vulnerability assessment framework, one that will integrate knowledge of expected ecosystem change with knowledge of the economics and adaptive capacity of fishing communities. Central to operationalizing this framework are economic models that quantify the social and economic impacts of climate- related changes in fish productivity and evaluate how these impacts can be altered by employing different adaptation strategies. The models provide an objective approach to compare adaptation strategies within the context of an idealized system. We recognize that scientific, behavioral, social, economic, regulatory, and governance factors will facilitate or constrain their use, and examining these factors is necessary to fully assess adaptation options. Ultimately, this project will provide objective tools for evaluating vulnerability of fishing communities and assessing the on-the-ground benefits and feasibility of different adaptation strategies.

A key feature of this project is that it will integrate data and approaches from the fields of climate science, fisheries ecology, marine resource economics, fishing technology, and change management to evaluate climate-related impacts and adaptation options for marine fisheries and fishing communities. Accomplishing this integration of information across the complex system in which fisheries operate— from physics and ecosystems to economics and communities— requires fundamental research that will produce new knowledge of how fisheries ecosystems and fisheries interact. It is also a foundational step towards supporting NOAA’s vision of ecosystems, communities, and economies that are resilient in the face of change. NOAA’s strategic plan recognizes that achieving this vision requires (1) understanding current and projecting future changes in earth system conditions, (2) evaluating the vulnerability of communities and ecological systems to these conditions, and (3) providing information that will enable people and communities to adapt to the changing conditions. This project will directly address all three of these prerequisites for supporting resilience in the context of climate variability and change. It will also contribute to NOAA’s strategic goals for healthy oceans and climate adaptation as well as its integrated modeling objective for its science and technology enterprise. Further, the project specifically addresses the RFP’s objectives of (1) understanding climate-related impacts on fish that support economically important fisheries and the communities that depend on them and (2) identifying adaptation options that will enhance community resilience in the context of climate variability and change. While meeting NOAA’s immediate needs, our work will (1) provide tangible information that Northeast U. S. fishing communities are seeking as they prepare for the impacts of climate variability and change and (2) establish the foundation of a scalable framework that can be used to guide climate adaptation planning for fisheries and fishing communities within and beyond the Northeast.

Year Funded: 2015   |   University of Rhode Island: “Robust harvest strategies for responding to climate induced changes in fish productivity"

Principal Investigator (s) : Jeremy Collie (University of Rhode Island)

Co-Investigator (s) : Jon Hare (Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory), Richard Bell (Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory), David Richardson (Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Narragansett Laboratory)

Collaborators (s) :

Evidence is accumulating that climate change and variability are affecting the distribution, recruitment and production of marine fish species. Even so, it is difficult to distinguish climate signals from other processes, including mortality from fishing and predation. At the same time, annual catch limits must be specified without full understanding of these production processes. This project will use state‐space models to rapidly identify changes in stock productivity due to environmental factors for 20 managed fish species on the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. For the subset of stocks identified as being vulnerable to climate change, we will introduce environmental covariates, based on mechanistic hypotheses, into the Kalman filter, state‐space models to identify which climate variables are most strongly related to observed changes in productivity. The second part of the project will identify harvest control rules for responding to climate‐induced changes in productivity. Time‐varying biological reference points will be calculated for those stocks exhibiting changes in productivity. Stochastic dynamic programming will be used to identify robust harvest control rules for two test‐case species, winter flounder and yellowtail flounder.

Responding to the guidance in the competition, we propose a two‐year project to enhance the use and application of climate‐related data and information in fisheries stock assessments and management decisions. This research is highly relevant to NOAA’s mission to conserve and manage marine ecosystems and fishery resources, as articulated in the Next Generation Strategic Plan. Our project primarily addresses Objective 1 of the Healthy Oceans Goal, which is improved understanding of ecosystems to inform research management decisions. In particular, our project will identify harvest policies that are resilient in the face of sudden and prolonged changes, to ensure the sustainable harvest of managed species.

Year Funded: 2015   |   Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council: “Climate velocity over the 21st century and its implications for fisheries management in the Northeast U.S."

Principal Investigator (s) : Malin Pinsky (Rutgers University)

Co-Investigator (s) : Richard Seagraves (Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council)

Collaborators (s) :

A series of climate workshops recently held by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) identified the need to generate projections of future climate velocities (i.e., the rate and direction that isotherms shift across the seascape) in the region as explanatory mechanisms for the response of fish distributions to climate change. The purpose of the proposed research is to inform the Council about the rate, magnitude, and uncertainty surrounding future distributional changes for managed and other important species likely to occur as a result of climate change over the next several decades and for the remainder of this century.

In this proposal, we are proposing to project climate velocities and species distributions for a suite of species important to the Council in the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NE LME). We will downscale and bias-correct IPCC-class global climate model projections for 2020-2100, build species niche models from temperature and other environmental data, and develop an ensemble of species distribution projections. These ensembles will account for uncertainty more completely than has been done in the past, including uncertainty in greenhouse gas emissions, climate model formulation, climate variability, statistical niche model formulation, and niche model parameters. We will rank species by the rate and magnitude of range shift as well as the uncertainty in those values while also diagnosing the dominant source of uncertainty. In collaboration with the Council, we will identify potential priority species for adaptation of fisheries management to climate. Finally, we will expand an existing website to share these projections with the public, fishing communities, and other stakeholders.

The results of the proposed research will help the Council in the development of an adaptive fishery management framework that can deal effectively with shifting distributions of both managed and unmanaged fish stocks as part of its Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) Guidance Document. The Council proposes a novel, adaptive approach to conducting this work by utilizing its EAFM Working Group to help refine the analyses as the modeling work unfolds. EAFM WG oversight is expected to insure that the results of the proposed work will directly address the information and analytical needs required for inclusion in the Council’s EAFM Guidance Document.

The research we propose directly addresses the primary focus of the COCA competition by seeking to understand and predict the future scope of distributional changes of fish stocks in the Mid-Atlantic as a result of climate change induced warming of the Atlantic Ocean. These analyses are critical to understanding future changes in the region and are a fundamental prerequisite to integrating these effects into fishery stock assessment and management efforts. The proposed research also supports the attainment of NOAA’s long-term NGSP goal of climate adaptation and mitigation by improving our scientific understanding of the changing climate and its impacts on fisheries. Ultimately, the work will help the Council and Nation to prepare for and mitigate against the impacts of climate change with the goal of maintaining sustainable fisheries which support vibrant coastal fishing communities.

Year Funded: 2015   |   Rutgers University and NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory: “A high-resolution physical-biological study of the Northeast U.S. shelf: Past variability and future change,"

Principal Investigator (s) : Enrique Curchitser (Rutgers University), Michael Alexander (Earth Systems Research Laboratory)

Co-Investigator (s) : Charles Stock (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory)

Collaborators (s) :

The ecosystem services of the northeast US region (e.g., fisheries, energy, tourism, recreation, health, etc.) are particularly vulnerable to climate change by virtue of their location at the confluence of the (cold) Labrador Current and the (warm) Gulf Stream, and a local rate of sea level rise predicted to exceed the global mean. Changes in climate will cause shifts in the location of the temperature fronts, water mass and associated biogeographic boundaries, ground and surface water distribution, directly affecting the ecosystem’s structure and the associated resources (e.g., species’ distributions). Understanding and quantitative projection of credible future scenarios will require sustained observations of the natural system as well as a modeling framework that represents the numerous oceanic components, the feedbacks between them, and resolves the scales important to variability within each sub-system. In this project we propose to study past variability and potential future changes of the Northeast U.S. (NEUS) shelf physics, biogeochemistry, and lower trophic level productivity by combining a high- resolution regional physicalbiological model with global Climate and Earth System simulations.

Specifically, we will use a high-resolution coupled physical-biogeochemical model for the NEUS shelf to address questions and build capacity for understanding and predicting climate-ecosystem interactions. This system will be based on an existing coupled implementation of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and NOAA/GFDL's Carbon, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Lower Trophics (COBALT) biogeochemical model. First, we will implement and execute a data assimilative physical 30 year hindcast simulation using a newly developed Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) for ROMS. This simulation will provide improved retrospective estimates of key physical ocean variables and their uncertainties that will be analyzed to understand the drivers of past observed hydrographic fluctuations; Second, we will develop a methodology for high-resolution seasonal predictions of ocean physics using ROMS, the EnKF and global seasonal forecasts developed at GFDL. Third, we will carry out a small ensemble downscaled physical-biological projections forced by output from selected CMIP5 Earth System Models and analyze results to assess how previously unresolved local-scale processes may significantly alter, or reverse largescale projected changes.

The work proposed here directly addresses the funding opportunity priority research area of Development and application of high-resolution, coupled, regional climate ocean-ecosystem models to provide past and future projections for improving our understanding of climate impacts on fish stock. The components of this proposal will also support and augment other proposed efforts (e.g., Nye, Saba, Munroe, Wahle, Cohen, and others) and through these synergies directly link to work on higher trophic levels in the NEUS shelf. It brings together an academic and two NOAA scientists and leverages several ongoing efforts. The strengths and limitations of these systems, revealed through the analysis within this proposal and the applications it supports, are essential to ensuring the utility of a regional climate downscaling framework for marine resource applications. While a full transfer of "research to operations" is beyond the scope of this work, the three components form foundational pieces for a sustainable regional downscaling framework for the Northeast Fisheries Science center.

Year Funded: 2015   |   Rutgers University, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, University of Delaware - MARACOOS, and University of Rhode Island: "Indicators of habitat change affecting three key commercial species of the U.S. Northeast Shelf: A design to facilitate proactive management in the face of climate change"

Principal Investigator (s) : Brad Seibel (University of Rhode Island), Vincent Saba (NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center), Peter Moore (University of Delaware - MARACOOS), Grace Saba (Rutgers University)

Co-Investigator (s) :

Collaborators (s) :

Statement of the Problem and Rationale: The productivity and/or distributions of many living marine resources (LMRs) within the U.S. Northeast Shelf (U.S. NES) have been changing in concert with warming ocean temperatures. However, most operational models used for the assessment of LMRs to inform fisheries management assume that the effects of the environment on distribution, population productivity, and natural mortality are implicit or fixed in space and time. As a result, assessment projections of stock size used for developing fisheries management regulations assume past ecosystem conditions will be sustained in the future. The few studies that have incorporated climate change into LMR models have used empirical relationships between the environment, distribution, and abundance derived from field studies. These studies are in essence “environmental correlations” but are limited in their description of ecological relationships because: 1) Abundance and distribution patterns in the field can be poor proxies for habitat suitability because there can be time lags between changes in habitat and an organism’s response; 2) Broad-scale distribution models do not do a good job at local scales nor at locations where habitat gradients are steep; and 3) Species-environmental relationships derived from statistical analyses of existing survey data are of unknown quality in terms of an organism’s responses to novel environmental conditions that might arise with climate change. Laboratory- based studies of physiological responses that can be used to calibrate species niche models with a basis in fundamental eco-physiological mechanisms are likely to produce more accurate projections that can include future environmental states. Three commercial species will be the focus of this proposal: black sea bass (Centropristis striata), longfin squid (Doryteuthis pealeii), and spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council currently has substantial interest in these species due to existing and potential changes in habitat. Achieving improved habitat metrics based on laboratory studies of these three species can produce hindcast simulations and climate change projections of habitat quantity and quality and ultimately guide existing and future management decisions.

Summary of Work: The research will be organized into the following four tasks: 1) Laboratory studies of thermal optima: We will use temperature-controlled, sealed metabolic chambers with intermittent-flow respirometry to determine the metabolic functional response of our target species to temperatures. 2) Simulate contemporary habitat using an existing ROMS hindcast: With the data generated from the laboratory studies, we will produce thermal response curves combined with fine-scale bottom topography (for black sea bass) and apply them to an existing 50-year, three- dimensional hindcast of the U.S. NES (ROMS). 3) Habitat metric assessment: We will use the hindcast simulations to develop and assess habitat metrics with respect to changes in population distribution, size, and variability. 4) Habitat projections under climate change: We will project habitat quality and quantity and calculate relevant habitat metrics over various climate change scenarios. This will involve the use of high-resolution global climate models at NOAA GFDL.

Relevance to Option 1: Habitat hindcasts and projections of black sea bass, spiny dogfish, and longfin squid will advance our understanding of climate (variability and change) on three economically important LMRs that may already be changing. These hindcasts will be based on metabolic theory, thus building upon the population-climate modeling done in the region previously.

Relevance to NOAA’s NGSP: This proposal directly addresses the goal “Improved scientific understanding of the changing climate system and its impacts” because: 1) our improved habitat metrics will result in climate change projections (and hindcasts) of suitable thermal habitat for three commercial species; 2) these improved metrics can produce climate-ready management that will consider variable and changing thermal habitat in population biomass assessments.

Year Funded: 2015   |   Northeastern University: "Predicting social impacts of climate change in fisheries

Principal Investigator (s) : Steven Scyphers (Northeastern University)

Co-Investigator (s) : onathan Grabowski(Northeastern University), Steven Gray (Michigan State University), Loren McClenachan (Colby College), J. Lad Akins (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), Pamela Schofield (United States Geological Survey)

Collaborators (s) :

Year Funded: 2015   |   NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC): "Ecosystem Tipping Points in The North Pacific: Identifying Thresholds in Response to Climate Change and Potential Management Strategies,

Principal Investigator (s) : Franciso Werner (NOAA SWFSC) and Robert Webb (NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory)

Co-Investigator (s) :

Collaborators (s) :

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Adrienne Antoine
Program Manager, Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA)
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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.