Scientists have discovered that a single, exceptionally abundant fish species can impact the food supply in an entire region with consequences for other species and for the way marine resources are managed.
The scientists, led by the Marine Biological Association’s Dr Sonia Batten, used a continuous plankton recorder (CPR) which is towed behind commercial ships, to collect plankton data during summer months between 2000 and 2014, across 1000s of kilometers of the southern Bering Sea and North Pacific. Pink salmon are exceptionally abundant in odd-numbered years (up to 650 million adult fish), owing to their two-year life history, and they represent nearly 70% of all Pacific salmon. Pink salmon are more abundant now than ever since comprehensive monitoring began in 1925 and they consume significant amounts of zooplankton as they migrate throughout the study region. The study was carried out in collaboration with co-authors from Natural Resources Consultants, Inc. and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington.
Find out more about the Continouous Plankton Recorder Survey.
See also the article at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.
The reference for the paper is: Batten, S.D., Ruggerone, G.T. and Ortiz, I. (2018). Pink Salmon induce a trophic cascade in plankton populations in the southern Bering Sea and around the Aleutian Islands. Fisheries Oceanography.