2021-6-30 0:0:0
NOAA Fisheries and the Environment (FATE): Development of Environmentally Driven Larval Mortality and Age-0 Abundance Indices for a Suite of Coastal Pelagic Species in the Gulf of Mexico
Estimates of fish abundance from age 0 through larval stage have been associated with a high degree of uncertainty. Researchers developed a simulation approach using a biogeochemical model for the Gulf of Mexico to estimate abundance and better understand environmental factors that influence larval abundance and mortality. The model uses new techniques to determine food limitation and starvation for larvae and impacts of climate change on larval survival, including hydrodynamic data from a 20-year reanalysis. While the model is based on the North Pacific Ecosystem Model for Understanding Regional Oceanography (NEMURO), researchers modified it for application to the Gulf of Mexico, based in part on recent shipboard observations, and an individual-based model (IBM) was incorporated to simulate the transport of fish larvae. An objective assessment found that this new biogeochemical model performs better than any other published to date. Results have been published on model simulations of variability and ecosystem and Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Larvae advection with mortality computed based on starvation, predation, and analyses of spawning and predation patterns. This modeling approach is applied to evaluate the interannual variability in larval mortality and to estimate changes in abundance under future climate scenarios.