Goal, Approach and Core Hypotheses

OVERALL GOAL: To understand the effects of climate variability and climate change on the distribution, abundance and production of marine animals (including commercially important living marine resources) in the eastern North Pacific. To embody this understanding in diagnostic and prognostic ecosystem models, capable of capturing the ecosystem response to major climatic fluctuations.

OVERALL APPROACH: To study the effects of past and present climate variability on the population ecology and population dynamics of marine biota and living marine resources, and to use this information as a proxy for how the ecosystems of the eastern North Pacific may respond to future global climate change.

Hypothesis I.

Production regimes in the Coastal Gulf of Alaska and California Current System covary, and are coupled through atmospheric and ocean forcing.

Hypothesis II.

Spatial and temporal variability in mesoscale circulation constitutes the dominant physical forcing on zooplankton biomass, production, distribution, species interactions, and retention and loss in coastal regions.

Hypothesis III.

Ocean survival of salmon is primarily determined by survival of the juveniles in coastal regions, and is affected by interannual and interdecadal changes in physical forcing and by changes in ecosystem food web dynamics.

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