Time-Dynamic Food Web Modeling to Explore Environmental Drivers of Ecosystem Change on the Kerguelen Plateau

TitleTime-Dynamic Food Web Modeling to Explore Environmental Drivers of Ecosystem Change on the Kerguelen Plateau
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsSubramaniam, RC, Melbourne-Thomas, J, Corney, SP, Alexander, K, Péron, C, Ziegler, P, Swadling, KM
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science

Understanding the impacts of climate and fishing on marine systems is important for ecosystem-based management in the Southern Ocean, but can be difficult to evaluate due to patchy data in space and time. We developed the first time-dynamic food web model for the Kerguelen Plateau using Ecopath with Ecosim to explore likely drivers of change in this relatively data-poor region. The Kerguelen Plateau is located at the centre of intersecting frontal systems and is inhabited by one of the largest populations of the commercially important Patagonian toothfish. We used this model to evaluate the environmental and human drivers of food web dynamics in the region by calibrating it with French and Australian fisheries data from 1997–2018 and biomass data for the period 1986–2018. Fishing was not identified as a driver of food web dynamics within this model, which could indicate that current management strategies are sustainable. A correlation analysis with environmental parameters likely to drive food web dynamics (sea surface temperature, zonal wind, Southern Annular Mode and chlorophyll a concentration) highlighted cool sea surface temperature, higher zonal wind speeds and negative phases of the Southern Annular Mode as important drivers of change, particularly during the summer. As the Southern Ocean is predicted to warm and winds are expected to intensify under future climate change, our study illustrates the importance of considering environmental change in ecosystem management.

Catégorie HCERES
ACL - Peer-reviewed articles
Publication coopération et recherche SUD