Long-term patterns in fish phenology in the western Dutch Wadden Sea in relation to climate change

Lodewijk Van Walraven*, Rob Dapper, Janine J. Nauw, Ingrid Tulp, Johannes IJ. Witte, Henk W. van der Veer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Long-term patterns in fish phenology in the western Dutch Wadden Sea were studied using a 53 year (1960–2013) high resolution time series of daily kom-fyke catches in spring and autumn. Trends in first appearance, last occurrence and peak abundance were analysed for the most common species in relation to mode of life (pelagic, demersal, benthopelagic) and biogeographic guild (northern or southern distribution). Climate change in the western Wadden Sea involved an increase in water temperature from 1980 onwards. The main pattern in first day of occurrence, peak occurrence and last day of occurrence was similar: a positive trend over time and a correlation with spring and summer water temperature. This is counterintuitive; with increasing temperature, an advanced immigration of fish species would be expected. An explanation might be that water temperatures have increased offshore as well and hence fish remain longer there, delaying their immigration to the Wadden Sea. The main trend towards later date of peak occurrence and last day of occurrence was in line with our expectations: a forward shift in immigration into the Wadden Sea implies also that peak abundance is delayed. As a consequence of the increased water temperature, autumn water temperature remains favourable longer than before. For most of the species present, the Wadden Sea is not near the edge of their distributional range. The most striking phenological shifts occurred in those individual species for which the Wadden Sea is near the southern or northern edge of their distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-181
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Volume127
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Long-term changes
  • Phenology
  • Fish fauna
  • Wadden Sea
  • Temperature

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