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Transition to an alternate state in a continental shelf ecosystem
Research Area: Background Year: 2004
Type of Publication: Article  
  • Choi, J.S.
  • K.T. Frank
  • W.C. Leggett
  • K. Drinkwater
Journal: Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. Volume: 61
Pages: 505-510
The collapse of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stocks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean ranks among the most dramatic and widely known ecological changes of the 20th century. Less widely known are the systemic changes that occurred within these areas prior to and coincident with the cod collapse. Our analysis of a fishery-independent, longterm, standardized database collected on the eastern Scotian Shelf off Nova Scotia revealed that during the past four decades, coherent, community-level reductions in body size, biomass, and physiological condition have occurred in the resident demersal fish species. The changes occurred over large spatial (>104 km2) and short temporal (ale variability in water temperature and stratification.