, Volume 157, Issue 1, pp 91-97
Date: 16 Sep 2009

Strengthening recruitment of exploited scallops Pecten maximus with ocean warming

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There is evidence that ocean warming has effects on the ecology, including recruitment dynamics, of marine organisms. In association with rising mean spring temperatures in the Irish Sea, a time-series of juvenile scallop Pecten maximus density around the Isle of Man showed a significant increasing trend since 1991. Favorable conditions (warmer water and correspondingly greater food availability) during gonad development can increase scallop gamete production. We examined the possibility that ocean warming has directly increased recruitment of exploited P. maximus around the Isle of Man by enhancing gonad development. From 1991–2007, there was a significant positive correlation between scallop recruitment and mean spring (the main period of gonad development) temperature in the year of larval settlement. Detrended (i.e., accounting for a time effect) recruitment data showed a marginally non-significant correlation to temperature. Gonadal somatic index of adult scallops and temperature were positively correlated. These relationships support the hypothesis that greater gamete production associated with ocean warming may be primarily responsible for observed increases in recruitment success and CPUE in a commercially important shellfish stock.

Communicated by S. D. Connell.