Advertisement

Fisheries Science

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 411–434 | Cite as

The role of flatfishes in the organization and structure of the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem

  • Sung Il Lee
  • Kerim Y. Aydin
  • Paul D. Spencer
  • Thomas K. Wilderbuer
  • Chang Ik Zhang
Original Article Biology

Abstract

We evaluated the role of flatfishes in the organization and structure of the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem using the Ecopath/Ecosim approach. As basic input data for the Ecopath/Ecosim model, we used estimates of biomass from bottom trawl surveys and age-structured population models, production/biomass (P/B) ratio, consumption/biomass (Q/B) ratio, diet composition (DC), and fisheries harvests for each component of species or species groups. We estimated the trophic level of each component, niche overlaps among flatfishes, and the impacts of competition and predation on flatfish species in the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem. Based on those estimates, we developed the tropho-dynamic structure of the ecosystem, and the model was used to simulate ecological effects of fishery exploitation patterns. No single flatfish species appeared to have a profound and uniquely important role in the organization and structure of the ecosystem. Instead, the most important component among the guild of flatfish species appeared to be yellowfin sole Pleuronectes asper, which had greater biomass than other flatfish and a relatively diverse diet among the small flatfish species. Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis, Greenland turbot Reinhardtius hippoglossoides, and arrowtooth flounder Atheresthes stomias were important keystone predators in the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem together with some groups of marine mammals and sea birds. Intra flatfish complex cannibalism was not observed, however, substantial diet overlaps were common in the flatfish guild system.

Keywords

Eastern Bering Sea Ecopath Ecosim Flatfishes Food web 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work is funded by a grant from the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (RP-2009-FR-019) and a joint project between Korea and U.S. for scientific and technical cooperation.

References

  1. 1.
    NOAA (1999) Our living oceans. NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-F/SPO 41. NOAA, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    NRC (1996) The Bering Sea ecosystem. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bakkala RG (1993) Structure and historical changes in the groundfish complex of the eastern Bering Sea. NOAA Tech Rep NMFS 114. NOAA, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zhang CI, Lee JB, Kim S, Oh JH (2000) Climatic regime shifts and their impacts on marine ecosystem and fisheries resources on Korean waters. Prog Oceanogr 47:171–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Wilderbuer TK, Hollowed AB, Ingraham WJ Jr, Spencer PD, Conners ME, Bond NA, Walters GE (2002) Flatfish recruitment response to decadal climatic variability and ocean conditions in the eastern Bering Sea. Prog Oceanogr 55:235–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Odum EP (1961) The strategy of ecosystem development. Science 104:262–270Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Anderson KP, Ursin E (1977) A multispecies extension to the Beverton and Holt theory of fishing, with accounts of phosphorus circulation and primary production. Meddeler Fra Dammarks Fiskeri Havundersogelser NS 7:319–435Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Laevastu T, Larkins HA (1981) Marine fisheries ecosystem: its quantitative evaluation and management. Fishing News Books, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Polovina JJ (1984) Model of a coral reef ecosystem. I. The ECOPATH model and its application to French Shoals. Coral Reefs 3:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Christensen V, Pauly D (1993) ECOPATH II—a software for balancing steady ecosystem models and calculating network characteristics. Ecol Model 61:169–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Christensen V, Pauly D (eds) (1993) Trophic models of aquatic ecosystem. ICLARM conference proceedings no. 26. ICLARM, ManilaGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Walters C, Christensen V, Pauly D (1997) Structuring dynamics models of exploited ecosystems from trophic mass-balance assessments. Rev Fish Biol Fisher 7:139–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pauly D, Christensen V, Dalsgaard J, Froese R, Torres F Jr (1998) Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279:860–863CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Christensen V, Pauly D (1992) A guide to the ECOPATH II software system (version 2.1). ICLARM Software 6, ManilaGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Christensen V, Pauly D (1995) Fish production, catches and the carrying capacity of the world oceans. NAGA ICLARM Q 18(3):34–40Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pauly D, Soriano-Bartz ML, Palomares MLD (1993) Improved construction, parameterization and interpretation of steady-state ecosystem models. In: Christensen V, Pauly D (eds) Trophic models of aquatic ecosystems. ICLARM conference proceedings no. 26. ICLARM, Manila, pp 1–13Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Christensen V, Walters CJ, Pauly D (2005) Ecopath with Ecosim: a user’s guide. Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Allen KR (1971) Relation between production and biomass. J Fish Res Board Can 28:1573–1581Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Trites AW, Livingston PA, Mackinson S, Vasconcellos MC, Springer AM, Pauly D (1999) Ecosystem change and the decline of marine mammals in the eastern Bering Sea: testing the ecosystem shift and commercial whaling hypotheses. FCRR no. 7. University of British Columbia, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Aydin KY, Lapko VV, Rachenko VI, Livingston PA (2002) A comparison of the Eastern Bering and Western Bering Sea shelf and slope ecosystem through the use of mass-balance food web models. NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-AFSC-130. NOAA, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ulanowicz RE, Puccia CJ (1990) Mixed trophic impacts in ecosystems. Coenoses 5:7–16Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Weber DD, Shippen HH (1975) Age-length-weight and distribution of Alaska plaice, rock sole, and yellowfin sole collected from the southeastern Bering Sea in 1961. Fish Bull US 73:919–924Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bakkala RG, Wakabayashi K, Sample TM (1985) Results of the demersal trawl surveys. In: Bakkala RG, Wakabayashi K (eds) Results of cooperative U.S.-Japan groundfish investigations in the Bering Sea during May-August 1979. Bull Int North Pac Fish Comm 44:39–191Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zhang CI (1988) Food habits and ecological interactions of Alaska plaice, Pleuronectes quadrituberculatus, with other flatfish species in the eastern Bering Sea. Bull Korean Fish Soc 21:150–160Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zhang CI, Wilderbuer TK, Walters GE (1998) Biological characteristics and fishery assessment of Alaska plaice, Pleuronectes quadrituberculatus, in the eastern Bering Sea. Mar Fish Rev 60:16–27Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Lang GM, Livingston PA, Miller BS (1995) Food habits of three cogenic flatfishes: yellowfin sole (Pleuronectes asper), rock sole (P. bilineatus), Alaska plaice (P. quadrituberculatus) in the eastern Bering Sea. In: Proceedings of the international symposium on North Pacific flatfish. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, Fairbanks, pp 225–245Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Spencer PD, Wilderbuer TK, Zhang CI (2002) A mixed-species yield model for eastern Bering Sea shelf flatfish fisheries. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 59:291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Power ME, Tilman D, Estes JA, Menge BA, Bond WJ, Mills LS, Daily G, Castilla JC, Lubchenco J, Paine RT (1996) Challenges in the quest for keystones. Bioscience 46:609–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Pianka ER (1970) On r and K selection. Am Nat 104:592–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung Il Lee
    • 1
  • Kerim Y. Aydin
    • 2
  • Paul D. Spencer
    • 2
  • Thomas K. Wilderbuer
    • 2
  • Chang Ik Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.East Sea Fisheries Research InstituteNational Fisheries Research and Development InstituteGangnungKorea
  2. 2.Alaska Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Pukyong National UniversityBusanKorea

Personalised recommendations