Climate-Related Hydrological Regimes and their Influence in Gulf Menhaden Recruitment in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

 

The Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) is a commercial fishery species harvested primarily for fish oil extraction and production of feed products, but it also plays an important role in the food web of the Gulf of Mexico. Despite its economic and ecological importance, little is known about how climate affects this fish stock on a year-to-year basis.  This research will define the relationship between climate-related hydrological regimes and population levels of Gulf menhaden on decadal and annual time scales in the northern Gulf. The project will also identify global changes in climate and their influence on local hydrological and meteorological factors that are responsible for the survival and recruitment of young (age-0) Gulf menhaden. 

Climate-Related Hydrological Regimes and their Influence in Gulf Menhaden Recruitment in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.  Photo source: NOAA

   Source: NOAA

Knowledge gained from the research will advance our understanding of the links between global climate, regional hydrology, and abundance of young menhaden in northern Gulf estuaries.  Research findings will benefit a wide range of disciplines, including fishery managers and decision makers charged with resource conservation, industry executives as they plan economic investments in the fishery, recreational and commercial fishermen using menhaden as bait, and the scientific community in their attempts to understand the effects of changing climates and habitats on biological resources in coastal waters.

Climate-Related Hydrological Regimes and their Influence in Gulf Menhaden Recruitment in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, Guillermo Sanchez, Gulf Coast Research laboratory
Photo from Sanibel Sea School