Evaluation of Trends and Changes in the Gulf of Gdańsk Ecosystem—an Integrated Approach
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An integrated trend assessment was conducted for the Gulf of Gdańsk (GoG), Baltic Sea for the period 1994–2010 to describe changes and potentially important drivers of the ecosystem. We found changes in the biota, including an increase in open sea taxa (flatfish, sprat and cod), a decrease in typical coastal species such as eelpout and lumpfish and an increase in primary production. The analyses further suggest that changes in the food web were driven by a combination of anthropogenic pressures (e.g., nutrient loadings and fisheries) and possible interactions with climatic disturbance. Our analyses show that significant changes occurred in the GoG ecosystem between 1994 and 2010. The primary drivers and mechanisms of these changes are discussed. We describe this alteration of the GoG within the context of similar temporal patterns identified in adjacent areas.
KeywordsGulf of Gdańsk Ecosystem change Integrated trend assessment
We are grateful to our colleagues from the National Marine Fisheries Research Institute (former Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia) for help with the data collection and the ICES/HELCOM Working Group on Integrated Assessment of the Baltic Sea and the Baltic NEST Institute for useful discussions. The Polish zooplankton data were partly collected within the Polish National Monitoring Programme, and permission to analyse these data was granted by the Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection (http://www.gios.gov.pl/). The study support came from the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) within the project “Regime Shifts in the Baltic Sea Eco-system—Modeling Complex Adaptive Ecosystems and Governance Implications.” We wish to thank two reviewers for useful comments and suggestions and Michelle McCrackin for language correction.
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