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Variability in the Bering Sea Ecosystem

Author(s): Macklin, S.A.; S.I. Saito; V.I. Radchenko; J.M. Napp; P.J. Stabeno; S.M. McKinnell (eds.)


Name of Publisher: Elsevier Science Ltd. (Pergamon)

Place of Publication: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Progress in Oceanography

Date of Publication: 2002

Reference Information: 55(1-2): 1-261

Keywords: climate change; SEBSCC; Bering Sea; walleye pollock; coccolithophores; zooplankton; jellyfish; salmon; sea ice; Oscillating Control Hypothesis

Abstract: This volume is the result of a special session of the 10th Annual Meeting of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) in Victoria , B.C., Canada. There is widespread recognition that significant changes have occurred in the Bering Sea over the last few decades. These changes are, in part, the result of shifts in decadal climate patterns such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) and , to a lesser extent, the influence of El Nino-La Nina. Reversals in the PDO and AO during 1976-1977 accompanied a large-scale regional shift from relatively cold to relatively warm temperatures in the Bering Sea. A weaker shift occurred in 1989 when just the AO, changed sign and there was a concurrent La Nina. During the late 1990s, the PDO changed sign again, and many have interpreted this change to imply a new regime shift. Often, climate shifts are difficult to recognize quickly because of the large interannual variability that the region exhibits. Two important characterists of the physical environment of the Bering Sea that are associated with climate change are the the extent and duration of seasonal sea ice cover. These characteristics are intimately related to the timing of the spring phytoplankton bloom. The new pattern exibits rapid buildup of ice in winter but earlier retreat in spring. The biological environment has responded to climate shifts with extensive coccolithophore blooms which began appearing in the summer of 1977. At higher trophic levels changes in the distribution of some Pacific salmon are related to the regime shifts. Walleye pollock distribution and abundance have varied with fluctuations in sea ice. Shifts have also been observed in the populations of crab, seabirds, and marine mammals.

Availability: Available from NCCOS Publications Explorer and the publisher, Pergamon/Elsevier

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