Abstract Title

Session S-01D: Pelagic Ecology in the Salish Sea I

Proposed Abstract Title

Landscape and Seasonal Composition of Fish and Jellyfish Assemblages in Puget Sound Surface Waters, and Relationships to Lower Trophic Levels and Abiotic Attributes

Keywords

Species and Food Webs

Location

Room 611-612

Start Date

30-4-2014 10:30 AM

End Date

30-4-2014 12:00 PM

Description

In Puget Sound, an oceanographically diverse and urbanized fjord estuary, understanding of pelagic ecology is poor, and systematic monitoring and assessment of living systems has long been neglected. As part of a project exploring assemblage composition of lower to middle trophic levels (microbes, phytoplankton, zooplankton, small pelagic fishes, and jellyfish) in surface waters across five oceanographic sub-basins of greater Puget Sound, we looked at biomass composition of fish and jellyfish assemblages, and related that structure to other trophic levels. In data from monthly sampling of 79 sites from April to October, 2011, biological composition differed geographically and seasonally but geographic differences were more distinct, and assemblage structure from each trophic level correlated with the other trophic levels and a suite of abiotic attributes. With respect to middle trophic levels, fish dominated in the two northern basins, whereas jellyfish dominated in the three southern basins. The strong biotic and abiotic spatial structure observed in our results indicates that different pelagic food webs exist across the Puget Sound ecosystem. Consequently, target conditions, current health status, or both, cannot be uniform across greater Puget Sound. These are critical considerations for management of the Puget Sound ecosystem, and we expect that further analysis of our results in the context of other studies will improve our understanding of the underlying causes of the patterns we observed across Puget Sound.

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Apr 30th, 10:30 AM Apr 30th, 12:00 PM

Landscape and Seasonal Composition of Fish and Jellyfish Assemblages in Puget Sound Surface Waters, and Relationships to Lower Trophic Levels and Abiotic Attributes

Room 611-612

In Puget Sound, an oceanographically diverse and urbanized fjord estuary, understanding of pelagic ecology is poor, and systematic monitoring and assessment of living systems has long been neglected. As part of a project exploring assemblage composition of lower to middle trophic levels (microbes, phytoplankton, zooplankton, small pelagic fishes, and jellyfish) in surface waters across five oceanographic sub-basins of greater Puget Sound, we looked at biomass composition of fish and jellyfish assemblages, and related that structure to other trophic levels. In data from monthly sampling of 79 sites from April to October, 2011, biological composition differed geographically and seasonally but geographic differences were more distinct, and assemblage structure from each trophic level correlated with the other trophic levels and a suite of abiotic attributes. With respect to middle trophic levels, fish dominated in the two northern basins, whereas jellyfish dominated in the three southern basins. The strong biotic and abiotic spatial structure observed in our results indicates that different pelagic food webs exist across the Puget Sound ecosystem. Consequently, target conditions, current health status, or both, cannot be uniform across greater Puget Sound. These are critical considerations for management of the Puget Sound ecosystem, and we expect that further analysis of our results in the context of other studies will improve our understanding of the underlying causes of the patterns we observed across Puget Sound.