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Översiktsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Caught in the middle: bottom-up and top-down processes impacting recruitment in a small pelagic fish

Moyano, Marta; Illing, Bjorn; Akimova, Anna; Alter, Katharina; Bartolino, Valerio; Boerner, Gregor; Clemmesen, Catriona; Finke, Annegret; Groehsler, Tomas; Kotterba, Paul; Livdane, Lina; Mittermayer, Felix; Moll, Dorothee; von Nordheim, Lena; Peck, Myron A.; Schaber, Matthias; Polte, Patrick


Understanding the drivers behind fluctuations in fish populations remains a key objective in fishery science. Our predictive capacity to explain these fluctuations is still relatively low, due to the amalgam of interacting bottom-up and top-down factors, which vary across time and space among and within populations. Gaining a mechanistic understanding of these recruitment drivers requires a holistic approach, combining field, experimental and modelling efforts. Here, we use the Western Baltic Spring-Spawning (WBSS) herring (Clupea harengus) to exemplify the power of this holistic approach and the high complexity of the recruitment drivers (and their interactions). Since the early 2000s, low recruitment levels have promoted intense research on this stock. Our literature synthesis suggests that the major drivers are habitat compression of the spawning beds (due to eutrophication and coastal modification mainly) and warming, which indirectly leads to changes in spawning phenology, prey abundance and predation pressure. Other factors include increased intensity of extreme climate events and new predators in the system. Four main knowledge gaps were identified related to life-cycle migration and habitat use, population structure and demographics, life-stage specific impact of multi-stressors, and predator-prey interactions. Specific research topics within these areas are proposed, as well as the priority to support a sustainable management of the stock. Given that the Baltic Sea is severely impacted by warming, eutrophication and altered precipitation, WBSS herring could be a harbinger of potential effects of changing environmental drivers to the recruitment of small pelagic fishes in other coastal areas in the world.


Atlantic herring; Clupea harengus; Baltic Sea; Early life stages of fishes

Publicerad i

Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
2023, Volym: 33, nummer: 1, sidor: 55-84
Utgivare: SPRINGER

    Globala målen

    SDG14 Hav och marina resurser

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Fisk- och akvakulturforskning

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