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Articles by Keith Brander
Total Records ( 3 ) for Keith Brander
  Keith Brander
  Evidence of the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on marine ecosystems is accumulating, but must be evaluated in the context of the “normal” climate cycles and variability which have caused fluctuations in fisheries throughout human history. The impacts on fisheries are due to a variety of direct and indirect effects of a number of physical and chemical factors, which include temperature, winds, vertical mixing, salinity, oxygen, pH and others. The direct effects act on the physiology, development rates, reproduction, behaviour and survival of individuals and can in some cases be studied experimentally and in controlled conditions. Indirect effects act via ecosystem processes and changes in the production of food or abundance of competitors, predators and pathogens. Recent studies of the effects of climate on primary production are reviewed and the consequences for fisheries production are evaluated through regional examples. Regional examples are also used to show changes in distribution and phenology of plankton and fish, which are attributed to climate. The role of discontinuous and extreme events (regime shifts, exceptional warm periods) is discussed. Changes in fish population processes can be investigated in experiments and by analysis of field data, particularly by assembling comparative data from regional examples. Although our existing knowledge is in many respects incomplete it nevertheless provides an adequate basis for improved management of fisheries and of marine ecosystems and for adapting to climate change. In order to adapt to changing climate, future monitoring and research must be closely linked to responsive, flexible and reflexive management systems.
  Simon Jennings and Keith Brander
  Climate effects on the structure and function of marine communities have received scant attention. The few existing approaches for predicting climate effects suggest that community responses might be predicted from the responses of component populations. These approaches require a very complex understanding of ecological interactions among populations. An alternate and informative parallel process is to ask whether it is possible to make predictions about community level responses to climate that are independent of knowledge about the identity and dynamics of component populations. We propose that it is possible to make such predictions, based on knowledge of the processes that determine the size–structure of communities. We suggest that theory that relates metabolic scaling, predator–prey interactions and energy transfer in size-based food webs, allows the size–structure and productivity of communities across a range of trophic levels to be predicted, provided that predictions of the effects of climate on primary production are available. One simple application of the community-focused predictions is to ask whether predictions of the size composition and abundance of populations for alternate climate scenarios are compatible with predictions for the size composition and relative abundance of communities. More sophisticated treatments could predict the effects of climate scenarios on multiple interacting populations and compare their combined size-abundance structure and production with that predicted for the community under the same climate scenario. The main weakness of the community approach is that the methods predict abundance and production by size-class rather than taxonomic group, and society would be particularly concerned if climate driven changes had a strong effect on the relative production of fishable and non-fishable species in the community. The main strength of the community approach is that it provides widely applicable ‘null’ models for assessing the biological effects of climate change and a baseline for model comparisons.
  R. Ian Perry , Philippe Cury , Keith Brander , Simon Jennings , Christian Mollmann and Benjamin Planque
  Modern fisheries research and management must understand and take account of the interactions between climate and fishing, rather than try to disentangle their effects and address each separately. These interactions are significant drivers of change in exploited marine systems and have ramifications for ecosystems and those who depend on the services they provide. We discuss how fishing and climate forcing interact on individual fish, marine populations, marine communities, and ecosystems to bring these levels into states that are more sensitive to (i.e. more strongly related with) climate forcing. Fishing is unlikely to alter the sensitivities of individual finfish and invertebrates to climate forcing. It will remove individuals with specific characteristics from the gene pool, thereby affecting structure and function at higher levels of organisation. Fishing leads to a loss of older age classes, spatial contraction, loss of sub-units, and alteration of life history traits in populations, making them more sensitive to climate variability at interannual to interdecadal scales. Fishing reduces the mean size of individuals and mean trophic level of communities, decreasing their turnover time leading them to track environmental variability more closely. Marine ecosystems under intense exploitation evolve towards stronger bottom–up control and greater sensitivity to climate forcing. Because climate change occurs slowly, its effects are not likely to have immediate impacts on marine systems but will be manifest as the accumulation of the interactions between fishing and climate variability — unless threshold limits are exceeded. Marine resource managers need to develop approaches which maintain the resilience of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems to the combined and interacting effects of climate and fishing. Overall, a less-heavily fished marine system, and one which shifts the focus from individual species to functional groups and fish communities, is likely to provide more stable catches with climate variability and change than would a heavily fished system.
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