18 June 2020
By Dr Sevrine Sailley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory 

The fish model projections have now concluded with 80+ fish species and 10 scenarios (2 climate scenarios combined with 5 fishing scenarios) available for project partners to use within their own research.

The model looks mostly at harvested fish (e.g. sardines, groupers, tuna) but also include a few other marine organisms, such as a prawn (Penaeus monodon), a lobster (Acetes japonicus) and two species of shark (Carcharhinus longimanus and C.  sorrah).

Some of the species incorporated into the model. For image credits please see end of the article
As an overview, the model outputs describe changes in biomass, either as the number of fish or the mass of fish, as well as changes in their distribution within the Blue Communities modelling domain. Figure 1 shows the total biomass for all modelled organisms averaged for the 2000-2009 period, indexed from 0 to 1.
We hope to use the model outputs to identify the impact of climate change in the region as well as its synergy with fishing pressure, comparing outputs from the different fishing scenarios, ranging from no fishing to extreme fishing pressure under climate change. In this way, resilient species or guilds can be identified along with opportunities for the communities, or similarly vulnerabilities where management can avoid a loss in fish biomass.
Additionally, biomass of organisms is only one aspect of ecosystem function and services and we hope to also pass along information regarding potential impact on diversity. Figure 2 is an example of where the Shannon Index was calculated for the 2000-2009 period to look at diversity within model outputs. High values indicate higher diversity and accounts for the possibility of a few species dominating the system's biomass. This might provide information regarding how diversity will change over time and highlight possible impacts in regards to marine protected area locations.
The model outputs have been made available to partners for their own research project and interest within Blue Communities, including Project 11.

Image credits, from left to right:
  • Spratelloides gracilis: "#320 silver-stripe round herring (キビナゴ)" by Nemo's great uncle is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
  • Epinephelus fuscoguttatus: "File:Brown marbled grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) Lakshadweep.jpg" by RuchaKarkarey is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. 
  • Rastrelliger brachysoma: "P1060004_Groß-Maul_Makrelen__sm" by Sebastian Brunner is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
  • Lutjanus argentimaculatus: "Lutjanidae>Lutjanus argentimaculatus Mangrovejack juvenile 0045" by Bill & Mark Bell is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
  • Carcharrhinus longimanus: "Oceanic white tip" by high hat beaver moustache man is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Project 10 introduction

Figure 1. Total biomass for all modeled organisms averaged for the 2000-2009
Figure 2. Shannon Index

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