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Parapenaeus longirostris (Lucas, 1846) an early warning indicator species of global warming in the central Mediterranean Sea

November 5, 2013

The effect of temperature increase on the stock of the deep-sea pink shrimp (Parapenaeus longirostris) was analysed along the western coasts of Italy (North Tyrrhenian-Ligurian Sea: Geographical Sub-Area 9). This crustacean is currently one of the most important commercial species of the trawl fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea. Landings of the species in the North Tyrrhenian-Ligurian Sea have grown consistently during the last years following a rapid increase in the stock size. Since the deep-sea pink shrimp stock is exploited on the same fishing ground of other heavily overexploited stocks in a full mixed and poorly selective fishery, its condition seems to be largely independent of the current fishing exploitation pattern suggesting a positive role of climate change on the dynamic of the stock.

To test this hypothesis we investigated the effect of sea surface temperature (SST) on density and distribution of P. longirostris by means of general additive models (GAMs). Two different models were developed for the whole stock and for the recruits (CL<20 mm) using time series of MEDITS (International bottom trawl survey in the Mediterranean) survey density indices (n km– 2) covering the period 1995–2010. Predictors included were geographical coordinates, quarterly averaged minimum SST, sampling depth and year. Spawners density was included as predictor into the GAM for recruits.

The best GAM for the whole stock explained 67.1% of the total deviance, showing a clear increase in density in concomitance with the expansion of the stock northward. We found a significant positive effect of the min SST of all seasons, as expected considering that P. longirostris spawn all year round, with the highest influence played by summer min SST, either in the same or previous year.

The best model for recruits explained 64.9 % of the total deviance. Recruitment increased linearly with the density of spawners showing a positive temporal trend and an expansion northward. The observed trend in recruitment appeared significantly linked to minimum SST in summer and during the autumn of the previous year, with a positive effect on shrimp density over 23.5 °C and 14 °C respectively. The climate-related changes in recruitment appeared to be the key process driving the dynamics of the stock, involving either higher production or survival in the pelagic egg or larval stage, or owing to changes in the quality/quantity of nursery habitats.

Colloca F, Mastrantonio G, Lasinio G J, Ligas A, Sartor P, in press. Parapenaeus longirostris (Lucas, 1846) an early warning indicator species of global warming in the central Mediterranean Sea, Journal of Marine Systems, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2013.10.007. Article.

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