Focal Component: Coastal Pelagic Species

California Current Ecosystem Component

 

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Nested conceptual model of the California Current ecosystem, centered on coastal pelagic species. The overview illustrates relationships to key environmental drivers; ecological interactions; and human activities. Please select one of the tabs listed above.

Overview

Coastal pelagic or forage species, such as anchovy, sardine, herring, mackerel, squid and krill, feed on plankton for a portion of their life cycle and form dense schools or aggregations in pelagic habitats of the California Current ecosystem.

At times vastly abundant, these species are often the principal means of transferring production from lower levels of the food web. They not only support important commercial fisheries themselves, but also other higher trophic-level species that are commercially exploited and/or legally protected.

The coastal pelagic species section is currently undergoing a fundamental transformation. Indicator selection and status and trend assessments are a work in progress; please standby for updates.

The primary indicators of coastal pelagic species' population abundance will likely rely on stock assessments of key species, whereas indicators of pelagic forage availability are encompassed under the Ecological Integrity section.

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Ecological Interactions

CPS rely on zooplankton abundance and distribution. CPS are a large component of the forage community supporting economically important predators (e.g., sea lion, salmon, sea birds).

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Environmental Drivers

Ocean drivers and largely dependent on basin-scale forcing such as PDO state. Specifically, PDO, ENSO et al partly determine conditions such as SST that have been shown to relate to CPS production. There is also a need to consider regional drivers such as local upwellings and wind dynamics as they translate to water column characteristics.

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Human Activities

We benefit directly from the production of sardine and CPS for fisheries. Improved prediction based on ecosystem information can allow for improved estimation of future and current stock abundance and productivity. We also have fisheries that rely in the predators that feed on CPS.

 

Indicator Data

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The coastal pelagic species section is currently undergoing a fundamental transformation. Indicator selection and status and trend assessments are a work in progress; please standby for updates.

The primary indicators of coastal pelagic species' population abundance will likely rely on stock assessments of key species, whereas indicators of pelagic forage availability are encompassed under the Ecological Integrity section.

Coastal Pelagic Species