Large Marine Ecosystems of the North Atlantic

Changing States and Sustainability

Edited by

  • H.R. Skjoldal, Senior Scientist and Research Director, Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870, Nordnes, N5817 Bergen, Norway
  • K. Sherman, Narragansett Laboratory and Office of Marine Ecosystem Studies, NOAA-NMFS, Narragansett, RI, USA

This is the first book to provide assessments of multidecadal changes in resources and environments of the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) of the North Atlantic. Using the case study method, researchers examine the forces driving the changes and actions underway aimed at turning the corner from declining trends in biomass yields, toward recovery of depleted species populations and improvements in ecosystem integrity.

Recently a distinguished group of 24 scientists argued eloquently that a new Sustainability Science was emerging that was focused on "meeting fundamental human needs while preserving the life support systems of planet Earth". The contributions contained in this volume are at the cutting edge of Sustainability Science and the results presented by the contributors are pertinent to one of the core questions: "How are long-term trends in environment and development, including consumption and population, reshaping nature-society interactions in ways relevant to sustainability?" (Science Vol. 292, 27 April 2001). The case studies demonstrate the utility of an ecosystem-based approach to the assessment and management of biomass yields and species sustainability.

Movements toward ecosystem-based management have emerged from the case studies on the initiation of recoveries of several depleted groundfish stocks of the US Northeast Shelf LME; the collapse of the Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf cod; the assessment of physical and biological changes on the Scotian Shelf, West Greenland Shelf, Iceland Shelf LME, and the Faroe Plateau, the North Sea, and the Barents Sea LMEs. Uncertainties, with regard to environmental and human-generated forcing, are addressed in assessment of the states of the Iberian Coastal and Biscay-Celtic LMEs, and in broad-scale studies of the influences at the base of the food chain of climatic variability on the productivity and biodiversity of plankton communities of the North Atlantic. The volume concludes with an insightful perspective on the approaches used and the results reported by the eminent marine scientist and former President of ICES, Professor Gotthilf Hempel.

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This book will be of interest to marine scientists, resource managers, stewardship agencies, research institutions and laboratories, the academic community, commercial interests, conservation groups, and the environmentally-concerned public at large.


Book information

  • Published: April 2002
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-51011-2


...Who should read this volume? Scientists and managers interested in marine resources and in strategies to ensure their sustainability will benefit from this volume. So will students of the ocean who wish to move beyond textbook idealizations to understand the reality of natural variability of the ocean environment.
M.D. Ohman, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Table of Contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. Contributors. I. North Atlantic Teleconnections. 1. North Atlantic climatic signals and the plankton of the European continental shelf (A.H. Taylor). 2. Interregional biological responses in the North Atlantic to hydrometeorological forcing (P.C. Reid, G. Beaugrand). II. Northwest Atlantic Large Marine Ecosystems. 3. Changes to the large marine ecosystem of the Newfoundland-Labrador shelf (J. Rice). 4. Decadal changes in the Scotian shelf large marine ecosystem (K.C.T. Zwanenburg, et al.). 5. Dynamics of fish larvae, zooplankton, and hydrographical characteristics in the West Greenland large marine ecosystem 1950-1984 (S.A. Pedersen, J.C. Rice). 6. The U.S. northeast shelf large marine ecosystem: zooplankton trends in fish biomass recovery (K. Sherman, et al.). III. Insular North Atlantic. 7. Iceland shelf large marine ecosystem: decadal assessment and resource sustainability (O.S. Astthorsson, H. Vilhjálmsson). 8. Ecological features and recent trends in the physical environment, plankton, fish stocks, and seabirds in the Faroe shelf ecosystem (E. Gaard, et al.). IV. Northeast Atlantic.9. Zooplankton-fish interactions in the Barents Sea (P. Dalpadado, et al.).10. Dynamics and human impact in the Bay of Biscay: an ecological perspective (L. Valdés, A. Lavin).11. Iberian sardine fisheries: trends and crises (T. Wyatt, C. Porteiro).12. The North Sea large marine ecosystem (J.M. McGlade).V. Summary and Comments.13. Changing states of the large marine ecosystems in the North Atlantic: summary and comments (G. Hempel).Index.