Silver hake tracks changes in Northwest Atlantic circulation
Nye, Janet A.
Joyce, Terrence M.
Link, Jason S.
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Recent studies documenting shifts in spatial distribution of many organisms in response to a warming climate highlight the need to understand the mechanisms underlying species distribution at large spatial scales. Here we present one noteworthy example of remote oceanographic processes governing the spatial distribution of adult silver hake, Merluccius bilinearis, a commercially important fish in the Northeast US shelf region. Changes in spatial distribution of silver hake over the last 40 years are highly correlated with the position of the Gulf Stream (GS). These changes in distribution are in direct response to local changes in bottom temperature on the continental shelf that are responding to the same large scale circulation change affecting the GS path, namely changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). If AMOC weakens as is suggested by global climate models, silver hake distribution will remain in a poleward position, the extent to which could be forecast at both decadal and multidecadal scales.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2011. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Nature Publishing Group for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Nature Communications 2 (2011): 412, doi:10.1038/ncomms1420.