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Title: Investigating the ecological and economic consequences of marine climate change in UK waters
Author: Jones, Miranda C.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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Climate change is of concern for both marine biodiversity and the human societies that are supported by it. Predictive models are required to assess potential responses of socio-ecological systems to climate change, implement measures to enhance their adaptability, and ensure the persistence of marine species and the livelihoods that depend on them. This requires a combination of modelling techniques, making use of a variety of data while dealing with uncertainty at many stages of the modelling procedure. This thesis explores the impact of climate change on a marine socio-ecological system, in particular through climate-induced shifts in species’ distributions. It further aims to explore sources of uncertainty in projecting models under climate change. Ecological and economic research techniques are applied to a set of species predominantly inhabiting UK waters, using projections of climate change for 2050. Ensemble projections suggest polewards shifts in species at an average rate of 27 and 42 km per decade for demersal and pelagic species respectively. Uncertainties concerning alternative, valid data sources and modelling procedures, notably species distribution models, contribute variation to predictions, and a multi-model approach is advocated to incorporate uncertainties and prevent bias through model selection. Predictions help identify increased risk of over-fishing through bycatch and indicate likely changes in environmental suitability of protected areas. Results also demonstrate how an index of agreement may be used to promote the tractability and application of projections by non-specialist communities. Furthermore, total maximum catch potential within UK waters is predicted to decrease by 2050, resulting in a median decrease in profitability between 2005 and 2050 of 10%, dependent on alterations in key costs such as fuel price. This thesis highlights the tight link between climate change impacts at ecological and socio-economic levels. Although adaptive capacity might be enhanced by switching gear or altering fishing patterns, rebuilding fish stocks to sustainable level will both improve their resilience to multiple threats and improve the resilience of fishers to withstand changes in distribution and catch.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available