Investigating range shifts in different life stage of pelagic fishes and their ecological implications following decadal environmental changes in the NE Atlantic

Dr Maite Louzao1, María Santos1, Amaia  Astarloa1, Dr Guillem  Chust2, Dr Anna  Rubio1, Udane  Martínez1, Dr Unai  Cotano1, Dr Xabier  Irigoien1, Dr Guillermo  Boyra1

1AZTI, Pasaia, Spain, 2AZTI, Sukarrieta, Spain


There is increasing evidence for ecological impacts of global change, from polar to tropical environments, in a wide range of ecosystems and from species to communities. Climate change affects the biota at different organization hierarchies and it can affect the physiology of organisms and phenology, community composition and interaction among organisms, structure and dynamics of ecosystems, and specially shifts in the distribution range of species. There is a vast literature evidencing range shifts in species distribution, but their ecological implications such as spatial mismatches in different life stage have been seldom considered. Within this context, we took advantage of annual oceanographic surveys monitoring a temperate pelagic ecosystem to investigate range shifts in different life stages of two important commercial pelagic fishes: European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and European pilchard Sardina pilchardus. Based on a 15-year time series, we developed species distribution models for eggs, juveniles and adults by means of Generalized Additive Models to disentangle the effects of current environmental conditions in driving abundance patterns of pelagic fishes in the NE Atlantic. Spatial predictions were further used to assess the spatial overlap of different life stages of both pelagic species, and the interaction among them. Ultimately, we explore the ecological impacts that range shits could have on different life history trait such as body size that could be the adjustment of a species to the contemporary environmental regime.


Dr. Maite Louzao is an expert in ecological modeling, spatial ecology, oceanography and population dynamics in application of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and different coservation frameworks. She is currently Principal Investigator of the CHALLENGES project (Pelagic changing ecosystems from predators’ perspective: advancing conservation efforts in southern European waters). She has participated in more than 32 international and national projects and she has published 43 scientific papers, some of them have been published in top journals such as Science, Current Biology, Ecology, among others. She has contributed extensively to the international dissemination of her research career by participaing in 89 international and national conferences, in addition to the preparation of technical reports, articles for the general public and has contributed to book chapters. Furthermore, she participates in different national (Expert Group of the Spanish Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Scientific Committee of the Spanish Ornithological Society) and international (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea). Regarding her training capacity, she has supervised a doctoral thesis defended in February 2016 and she is currently supervising two, in addition to 5 master projects and different internships.

Species on the Move

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The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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