Archived DNA reveals fisheries and climate induced collapse of a major fishery

Sara Bonanomi, Loïc Pellissier, Nina Overgaard Therkildsen, Rasmus Berg Hedeholm, Anja Retzel, Dorte Meldrup, Steffen Malskær Olsen, Anders Nielsen, Christophe Pampoulie, Jakob Hemmer-Hansen, Mary Susanne Wisz, Peter Grønkjær & Einar Eg Nielsen


Fishing and climate change impact the demography of marine fishes, but it is generally ignored that many species are made up of genetically distinct locally adapted populations that may show idiosyncratic responses to environmental and anthropogenic pressures. Here, we track 80 years of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) population dynamics in West Greenland using DNA from archived otoliths in combination with fish population and niche based modeling. We document how the interacting effects of climate change and high fishing pressure lead to dramatic spatiotemporal changes in the proportions and abundance of different genetic populations, and eventually drove the cod fishery to a collapse in the early 1970s. Our results highlight the relevance of fisheries management at the level of genetic populations under future scenarios of climate change.


Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 15395 (2015)



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Published Oct. 26, 2015 10:47 AM