February 1st to 5th 2016
Olhão, Portugal
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Changes in the food web structure in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea under cumulative impacts

Oral Presentation
Biological Invasions
Thursday, February 4, 2016 -
16:45 to 17:00

Corrales, X. 1 Coll, M. 2 Ofir, E. 3 Goren, M. 4 Edelist, D. 5 Heymans, J.J. 6 Gal, G. 7

1Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research. PO Box 447, Migdal, Israel
2Institut de Recherche pour le Développment, UMR MARBEC, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171. 34203 Sète Cedex, France
3Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research. PO Box 447, Migdal, Israel
4Department of Zoology and The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
5Tel-Shikmona, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research. PO Box 8030, Haifa 31080, Israel
6Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, PA 371QA, Scotland
7Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research. PO Box 447, Migdal, Israel

The ecosystems of the Israeli Mediterranean coast have undergone significant ecological changes in recent decades caused primarily by the introduction of invasive species through the Suez Canal, intense fishing activities and the effects of climate change. An important challenge for conservation is the understanding of how multiple human stressors, environmental factors and marine resources interact and influence each other. To analyses main historical ecosystem dynamics, a temporal dynamic ecosystem model representing the continental shelf of the Israeli Mediterranean coast was developed. We calibrated and fit an Ecopath with Ecosim model to available time series of biomass and catch data from early 1990’s to 2010. The baseline ecosystem model was composed of 42 functional groups, ranging from primary producers to top predator species. The model included eight invasive groups encompassing several crustacean and fish species with a diversity of trophic levels that have settled in the ecosystem over a continuous period of time. The ecosystem model was used to explore the historical dynamics of the ecosystem considering the effects of invasive species, fishing activities and climate change (through changes in temperature and salinity) as the main drivers of the ecosystem and to evaluate their historical cumulative effects. The historical model predictions satisfactorily matched the observed data, especially the invasive groups. The model showed an increasing proportion of invasive species in biomass and catch over time, with important effects on the food-web. Results also highlighted the important role that fishing activities and climate change are playing in the ecosystem. The ecosystem model represents a baseline from where to develop exploratory analysis about future management scenarios
keywords: 
Food web model, Ecopath with Ecosim, Eastern Mediterranean Sea, invasive species, cumulative impacts

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