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The importance of within-system spatial variation in drivers of marine ecosystem regime shifts
Fisher, J.A.D.; Casini, M.; Frank, K.T.; Möllmann, C.; Leggett, W.C.; Daskalov, G. (2015). The importance of within-system spatial variation in drivers of marine ecosystem regime shifts. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. (B Biol. Sci.) 370(1659): 20130271.
In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. Royal Society: London. ISSN 0962-8436; e-ISSN 1471-2970, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Context-dependence; Downscaling; Predator–prey interaction; Spatial heterogeneity; Spatial scale

Authors  Top 
  • Fisher, J.A.D.
  • Casini, M.
  • Frank, K.T.
  • Möllmann, C.
  • Leggett, W.C.
  • Daskalov, G.

    Comparative analyses of the dynamics of exploited marine ecosystems have led to differing hypotheses regarding the primary causes of observed regime shifts, while many ecosystems have apparently not undergone regime shifts. These varied responses may be partly explained by the decade-old recognition that within-system spatial heterogeneity in key climate and anthropogenic drivers may be important, as recent theoretical examinations have concluded that spatial heterogeneity in environmental characteristics may diminish the tendency for regime shifts. Here, we synthesize recent, empirical within-system spatio-temporal analyses of some temperate and subarctic large marine ecosystemsin which regime shifts have (and have not) occurred. Examples from the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Bengula Current, North Sea, Barents Sea and Eastern Scotian Shelf reveal the largely neglected importance of considering spatial variability in key biotic and abiotic influences and species movements in the context of evaluating and predicting regime shifts.We highlight both the importance of understanding the scale-dependent spatial dynamics of climate influences and key predator–prey interactions to unravel the dynamics of regime shifts, and the utility of spatial downscaling of proposed mechanisms (as evident in the North Sea and Barents Sea) as a means of evaluating hypotheses originally derived from among-system comparisons.

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