NEW BEDFORD — NOAA scientists have found more evidence that not only are fish migrating toward colder waters, the specific zooplankton on which they feed has moved along with them.
Kevin Friedman and his colleagues at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center said that changing water temperatures and current patterns "have profoundly affected key Northeast U.S. Continental shelf zooplankton species in recent decades, and may be influencing the recovery of Atlantic cod and other fish stocks in the region."
Zooplankton species critical for the survival of Atlantic cod larvae have thinned out in the same areas where Atlantic cod have struggled to rebuild, the study found.
"Temperature is a governing factor in the growth, reproduction and distribution of marine organisms. Shifting temperature distributions, whether triggered by natural or human factors, can cause the redistribution of plankton communities on regional and basin-wide scales," said Friedland.
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