Science quotes Dr. Agostini on her interdisciplinary work on climate and marine systems
August 14, 2006
A recent Science article ("As the seas warm" by Eli Kintisch) addresses how a growing number of marine scientists are beginning to track the effects of warming ocean on marine migrants, including commercially important species.
Kintisch reports that researchers have a long way to go before they can pinpoint those climate change effects. Work by Vera Agostini, a scientist with the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, is discussed in the article as a step in that direction.
By taking an interdisciplinary approach Agostini describes the migration variability of an ecologically and commercially important US West Coast Species, Pacific hake, in relation to a subsurface Pacific current called the poleward undercurrent. She finds that hake migration patterns vary as current characteristics change. During an El Niño year hake were able to migrate much further north by concentrating at the flow's edge than during a La Niña year, she will report this fall in the Canadian Journal of Fishery and Aquatic Sciences (volume 63). Agostini relates this back to differences in current characteristics during the two years. Climate change is expected to affect ocean flow and the frequency of El Niños. Agostini predicts this may in turn affect hake's migratory behavior.