Publication details.


Author(s):F. Maynou, A. Sabatés, E. Ramírez-Romero, I.A. Catalán, V. Raya
Title:Future distribution of early life stages of small pelagic fishes in the northwestern Mediterranean
JCR Impact Factor:4.743
Abstract:We studied the effect of climate change on the potential spawning habitats of two marine
small pelagic fishes. We examined the projected changes in the potential spawning
habitat of the summer-spawning anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) and round sardinella
(Sardinella aurita) in the northwestern Mediterranean by combining the regionalized
projections of RCP scenarios with an existing species distribution model (SDM). The
SDM was based on a separate generalized additive model for the eggs and larvae of the
two species computed from ichthyoplankton sampling that was conducted with simultaneous
readings of surface temperature, salinity and chlorophyll-a values as predictor
variables. The SDM was projected for the 2010 decade, which represented the presentday
conditions, with these environmental variables obtained from the regionalized
POLCOMS-ERSEM biogeochemical model forced by the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios.
The comparison of the present-day projection results with the projections for the
middle and final decades of the twenty-first century showed that the suitability of the
spawning habitat as defined by the anchovy eggs model was likely to increase over time
under RCP4.5 or decrease slightly under RCP8.5, but the habitat for anchovy larvae was
likely to decrease in all cases. Loss of habitat was projected to be particularly important in
the south of the study area on the Ebre River delta continental shelf. Conversely, the
probability of round sardinella occurrence will significantly increase under both scenarios.
The potential habitat of this species, which is of subtropical origin, is likely to shift
northwards. The limitations of the existing models to extrapolate the current results to
future scenarios are discussed regarding (i) the uncertainty in the projections of driving
environmental variables (e.g., chlorophyll-a), (ii) the simplified nature of the projection
models, which did not capture the dynamics of the early life stages of the fish at a small
scale, and (iii) insufficient consideration of important drivers, such as larval transport or
retention by mesoscale hydrographic phenomena.

Related staff

  • Ignacio A. Catalán Alemany
  • Related departments

  • Marine Ecology
  • Related projects

  • CERES (CTA 070.002)