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What is the carrying capacity for fish in the ocean? A meta-analysis of population dynamics of North Atlantic cod

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Abstract:

Population and community data in one study are usually analyzed in isolation from other data. Here, we introduce statistical methods that allow many data sets to be analyzed simultaneously such that different studies may "borrow strength" from each other. In the simplest case, we simultaneously model 21 Atlanic cod (Gadus morhua) stocks in the North Atlantic assuming that the maximum reproductive rate and the carrying capacity per unit area are random variables. This method uses a nonlinear mixed model and is a natural approach to investigate how carrying capacity varies among populations. We used empirical Bayes techniques to estimate the maximum reproductive rate and carrying capacity of each stock. In all cases, the empirical Bayes estimates were biologically reasonable, whereas a stock by stock analysis occasionally yielded nonsensical parameter estimates (e.g., infinite values). Our analysis showed that the carrying capacity per unit area varied by more than 20-fold among populations and that much of this variation was related to temperature. That is, the carrying capacity per square kilometre declines as temperature increases.

Les données provenant d'études démographiques ou biocénotiques sont habituellement analysées séparément les unes des autres. On trouvera ici des méthodes statistiques qui permettent l'analyse simultanée de plusieurs séries de données de façon à ce que les différentes études se renforcent mutuellement. Le cas le plus simple consiste en une modélisation simultanée de 21 stocks de morues franches (Gadus morhua) de l'Atlantique nord qui présume que le taux maximal de reproduction et la capacité limite par unité de surface sont des variables aléatoires. La méthode utilise un modèle mixte non-linéaire et elle se révèle être une stratégie naturelle pour l'étude de la variation de la capacité limite chez les populations. Des techniques empiriques bayésiennes ont servi à estimer le taux maximal de reproduction et la capacité limite de chaque stock. Dans tous les cas, les estimés obtenus sont biologiquement vraisemblables; en revanche, des analyses faites stock par stock génèrent à l'occasion des estimations absurdes (e.g., des valeurs infinies). Nos analyses montrent que la capacité limite par unité de surface varie d'un facteur de plus de 20 d'une population à une autre et qu'une partie importante de cette variation est reliée à la température. En effet, la capacité limite par kilomètre carré décline à mesure que la température augmente.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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