Ecological and management implications of climate change induced shifts in phenology of coastal fish and wildlife species in the Northeast CSC region

Fiscal Year: 
FY'14
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Karen Alexander, Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Project Fellows: 
Status: 
Ongoing
Science Themes: 

Climate change is causing species to shift their phenology, or the timing of recurring life events such as migration and reproduction, in variable and complex ways. This can potentially result in mismatches or asynchronies in food and habitat resources that negatively impact individual fitness, population dynamics, and ecosystem function. Numerous studies have evaluated phenological shifts in terrestrial species, particularly birds and plants, yet far fewer evaluations have been conducted for marine animals. This project seeks to improve our understanding of shifts in the timing of seasonal migration, spawning or breeding, and biological development (i.e. life stages present, dominant) of coastal fishes, marine mammals,and migratory shore and seabirds along the U.S Atlantic coast. Ideally the suite of species selected will allow us to compare whether fish, marine mammals, shore and seabird predators are shifting their phenology at different rates than their primary prey and optimal habitat conditions, thus influencing trophic interactions and population dynamics. A comprehensive literature review will be conducted simultaneous to data collection and synthesis to determine what is known, and what knowledge/information/data gaps exist regarding regional phenological responses of coastal species to climate change. Project results will help managers assess the vulnerability of coastal species to climate change by providing information on how they are responding to impacts in the region.

Progress on the RARGOM GoM synthesis paper was made over the past quarter. Multiple sections have been streamlined and advancements on the final sections of the paper (implications), figures and tables.

Publications: 
Presentations: 
  • Staudinger, MD, K. Alexander, and A. Jordaan. Ecological and management implications of climate change induced shifts in phenology of coastal fish and wildlife species in the Northeast region. Southern New England Chapter of the AFS January 27, 2015. Poster
  • Staudinger, MD, K. Alexander, and A. Jordaan.  Ecological and management implications of climate change induced shifts in phenology of coastal fish and wildlife species in the Northeast.  American Fisheries Society Meeting, August 17, 2015. Poster
  • Jordaan, A., M. Staudinger, and K. Alexander. Ecological and management implications of climate change induced shifts in phenology of coastal fish and wildlife species in the Northeast region. RARGOM Annual Science Meeting, Portsmouth, NH, October 14, 2015
  • Staudinger, M.D., A. Davis, M. Devine, L. Deegan, and A. Jordaan. Climate change induced shifts in migration timing of adult alewife (Alosa psuedoherengus) in Massachusetts natal streams. AFS Annual Meeting, Tampa FL, August 2017. Oral presentation.
  • Jones, K., D. Pendleton, F. Bowlick, M. Garron, M.D. Staudinger. A regional analysis of long-term gray and harbor seal stranding events. Greater Atlantic Regional Stranding Conference. Hull MA, 10/12/2017. Originally this presentation was submitted as a poster, but the organizers (one of which is a key stakeholder at GARFO, NOAA) requested that we give an oral presentation due to the importance and relevance of the work.
  • Rachel Bratton, Michelle and Keenan all gave presentations at the Annual Roseate Tern Recovery WG meeting in Westborough MA. Rachel presented preliminary results from her honors thesis (Stable Isotope Analysis of Seabird Eggshells in the Gulf of Maine); Keenan presented preliminary results from his MS thesis (Preliminary exploration of long-term trends in Sterna sp. chick diet in the Gulf of Maine); and Michelle presented updates on the Forage Fish (sub) Working Group with inputs from Holly Goyert and Linda Welch (USFWS) and lead a broader follow up discussion on formalizing the working group using AMBC criteria.
  • Bratton, R., A. Gerson, K. Yakola, and M. Staudinger. Stable Isotope Analysis of Seabird Eggshells in the Gulf of Maine. Roseate Tern Recovery WG meeting, Westborough MA, November 14, 2017.
  • Yakola, K., M. Staudinger, A. Jordaan, S. Kress, and P. Shannon. Preliminary exploration of long-term trends in Sterna sp. chick diet in the Gulf of Maine. Roseate Tern Recovery WG meeting, Westborough MA, November 14, 2017.
  • Staudinger, M., L. Welch, and H. Goyert. Forage Fish Working Group Updates. Roseate Tern Recovery WG meeting, Westborough MA, November 14, 2017.
  • Bratton, R., A. Gerson, K. Yakola, and M. Staudinger. Stable Isotope Analysis of Seabird Eggshells in the Gulf of Maine. Five College Coastal and Marine Program Fall Symposium. November 13, 2017.
  • Staudinger, M., D. Pendleton, and A. Jordaan. Climate-induced shifts in phenology: Case studies of fish, whales, and seabirds in the Gulf of Maine. The Effects of Climate Change on the World's Oceans, Session 8 -Understanding the impact of Abrupt Ocean Warming and Continental Scale Connections on marine productivity and food security via Western Boundary Currents. Washington DC. June 2018
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