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

ORCID
0000-0002-3026-9225
Affiliation
Centre for Coastal Research, University of Agder, Universitetsveien 25, Kristiansand, Norway
Moyano, Marta;
GND
1072192128
ORCID
0000-0002-5217-805X
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Herwigstraße 31, Bremerhaven, Germany
Illing, Björn;
GND
1019551658
ORCID
0000-0003-4161-4140
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Herwigstraße 31, Bremerhaven, Germany
Akimova, Anna;
ORCID
0000-0002-1801-748X
Affiliation
Department of Coastal Systems (COS), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, Den Burg (Texel), Netherlands
Alter, Katharina;
ORCID
0000-0002-4506-4329
Affiliation
Department of Aquatic Resources, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Turistgatan 5, Lysekil, Sweden
Bartolino, Valerio;
ORCID
0000-0002-2652-5863
Affiliation
Institute of Marine Ecosystem and Fisheries Science (IMF), Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), University of Hamburg, Grosse Elbstrasse 133, Hamburg, Germany
Börner, Gregor;
GND
172689333
ORCID
0000-0003-4102-7341
VIAF
232310020
Affiliation
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, Kiel, Germany
Clemmesen, Catriona;
ORCID
0000-0001-8614-4651
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Finke, Annegret;
GND
1019661585
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Gröhsler, Tomas;
GND
1018950338
ORCID
0000-0002-3394-2091
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Kotterba, Paul;
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Livdane, Lina;
ORCID
0000-0002-4513-9634
Affiliation
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, Kiel, Germany
Mittermayer, Felix;
GND
1034628461
ORCID
0000-0001-7376-9118
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Moll, Dorothee;
GND
1081302771
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
von Nordheim, Lena;
ORCID
0000-0001-7423-1854
Affiliation
Department of Coastal Systems (COS), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, Den Burg (Texel), Netherlands
Peck, Myron A.;
GND
1018823883
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Herwigstraße 31, Bremerhaven, Germany
Schaber, Matthias;
GND
1025020537
ORCID
0000-0002-3711-4656
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
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.

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