Understanding temperature effects on recruitment in the context of trophic mismatch

TitleUnderstanding temperature effects on recruitment in the context of trophic mismatch
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRégnier, T, Gibb, FM, Wright, PJ
Date Published10/2019
ISBN Number2045-2322

Understanding how temperature affects the relative phenology of predators and prey is necessary to predict climate change impacts and recruitment variation. This study examines the role of temperature in the phenology of a key forage fish, the lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus, Raitt) and its copepod prey. Using time-series of temperature, fish larval and copepod abundance from a Scottish coastal monitoring site, the study quantifies how thermal relationships affect the match between hatching in sandeel and egg production of its copepod prey. While sandeel hatch time was found to be related to the rate of seasonal temperature decline during the autumn and winter through effects on gonad and egg development, variation in copepod timing mostly responded to February temperature. These two temperature relationships defined the degree of trophic mismatch which in turn explained variation in local sandeel recruitment. Projected warming scenarios indicated an increasing probability of phenological decoupling and concomitant decline in sandeel recruitment. This study sheds light on the mechanisms by which future warming could increase the trophic mismatch between predator and prey, and demonstrates the need to identify the temperature-sensitive stages in predator-prey phenology for predicting future responses to climate change.

Short TitleScientific Reports