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Impacts of Climate Change on Lobsters, Fish, and Economics

We are leading a four-year, $1.8-million project as part of the NSF’s Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability) Initiative to support collaborative studies. Our multidisciplinary project team is examining the impact of rising ocean temperatures on the ecology and economics of the Gulf of Maine. 

Climate change is rapidly altering conditions in the ocean, and organisms exhibit complex responses to these changes. For many fish and invertebrates, changing temperatures are altering their characteristic spatial and seasonal distributions. Fisheries provide a two-way connection between changing ocean environments and local economies. As the distribution and abundance of species change, where, when, and how many fish are caught will change. Fisheries also respond to economic conditions or management policies, leading to feedbacks onto fish populations. In order to understand the impact of warming on fisheries ecosystems, it is essential to account for dynamical interactions between populations, fisheries, and markets. This project will develop an integrated view of the complex relationships between climate change, oceanography, ecology, and economics in a coastal marine setting.