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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Yale University
  • Eli P Fenichel
  • (203) 432-5114
Award Date:07/25/2014
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 150,514
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 150,514
  • FY 2014=$150,514
Start Date:09/01/2014
End Date:08/31/2019
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Coastal SEES Collaborative Research: Adaptations of fish and fishing communities to rapid climate change
Federal Award ID Number:1426700
DUNS ID:043207562
Parent DUNS ID:043207562
Program:SEES Coastal
Program Officer:
  • Michael Sieracki
  • (703) 292-7585

Awardee Location

Street:Office of Sponsored Projects
City:New Haven
County:New Haven
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Yale University
Street:195 Prospect Street
City:New Haven
County:New Haven
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

Climate change presents a profound challenge to the sustainability of coastal systems. Most research has overlooked the important coupling between human responses to climate effects and the cumulative impacts of these responses on ecosystems. Fisheries are a prime example of this feedback: climate changes cause shifts in species distributions and abundances, and fisheries adapt to these shifts. However, changes in the location and intensity of fishing also have major ecosystem impacts. This project's goal is to understand how climate and fishing interact to affect the long-term sustainability of marine populations and the ecosystem services they support. In addition, the project will explore how to design fisheries management and other institutions that are robust to climate-driven shifts in species distributions. The project focuses on fisheries for summer flounder and hake on the northeast U.S. continental shelf, which target some of the most rapidly shifting species in North America. By focusing on factors affecting the adaptation of fish, fisheries, fishing communities, and management institutions to the impacts of climate change, this project will have direct application to coastal sustainability. The project involves close collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and researchers will conduct regular presentations for and maintain frequent dialogue with the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fisheries Management Councils in charge of the summer flounder and hake fisheries. To enhance undergraduate education, project participants will design a new online laboratory investigation to explore the impacts of climate change on fisheries, complete with visualization tools that allow students to explore inquiry-driven problems and that highlight the benefits of teaching with authentic data. This project is supported as part of the National Science Foundation's Coastal Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability program - Coastal SEES. The project will address three questions: 1) How do the interacting impacts of fishing and climate change affect the persistence, abundance, and distribution of marine fishes? 2) How do fishers and fishing communities adapt to species range shifts and related changes in abundance? and 3) Which institutions create incentives that sustain or maximize the value of natural capital and comprehensive social wealth in the face of rapid climate change? An interdisciplinary team of scientists will use dynamic range and statistical models with four decades of geo-referenced data on fisheries catch and fish biogeography to determine how fish populations are affected by the cumulative impacts of fishing, climate, and changing species interactions. The group will then use comprehensive information on changes in fisher behavior to understand how fishers respond to changes in species distribution and abundance. Interviews will explore the social, regulatory, and economic factors that shape these strategies. Finally, a bioeconomic model for summer flounder and hake fisheries will examine how spatial distribution of regulatory authority, social feedbacks within human communities, and uncertainty affect society's ability to maintain natural and social capital.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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3. Arlinghaus. R., J.K. Abbott, E.P. Fenichel, S.R. Carpenter, L.M. Hunt, J. Alos, T. Kleforth, S.J. Cooke, R. Hilborn, O. Jensen, M. Wilberg, J.R. Post, and M. Manfredo "Governing the recreational dimension of global fisheries" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.116, 2019, p.5209.

Hunt, L. M., E. P. Fenichel, D. C. Fulton, R. O. Mendelsohn, J. W. Smith, T. D. Tunnery, A. J. Lynch, C. P. Paukert, and J. Whitney "Pathways for the climate change to impact inland fishers" Fisheries, v.41, 2016, p.362.

Fujitani, M.L., E.P. Fenichel, J. Torre, and L.R. Gerber "Synthesizing ecological and human use information to understand and manage coastal change" Oceans and Coastal Management, v.162, 2018, p.100.

Moberg, E., M. L. Pinsky, E. Fenichel "Capital Investment for Optimal Exploitation of Renewable Resource Stocks in the Age of Global Change" Ecological Economics, v.165, 2019, p..

Fenichel, E.P., Levin, S.A., McCay, B.J., Martin, K.S., Abbott, J.K. & Pinsky, M.L. "Wealth reallocation and sustainability under climate change" Nature Climate Change, v.6, 2016, p.237. doi:10.1038/nclimate2871 

Tekwa, E. W., E. P. Fenichel, S. A. Levin, and M. L. Pinsky "Path-dependent institutions drive alternative stable states in conservation" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.116, 2019, p.689. doi:doi: 10.1073/pnas.1806852116 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Rapid climate changes are currently driving substantial reorganizations of marine ecosystems around the world. In this project, we conducted research primarily in continental shelf ecosystems and fishing communities of North America to understand how marine species are responding to warming temperatures and how these changes affect fisheries. Key findings were that marine animals are highly sensitive to warming and are responding quickly to changes in water temperature, and that such changes are often happening faster than similar processes on land. Changes in species distributions and productivity are having substantial impacts on fisheries, including through changing catch compositions and longer distances travelled for fishing trips. Conflicts over access to fisheries have also emerged as species distributions are no longer aligned with regulations or catch allocations. These changes in the coupled natural-human system have reduced the value of ecosystem services from some fisheries and risk doing so even more in the future. Going forward, substantial opportunities for more effective fisheries management and operations, marine conservation, and marine spatial planning are likely possible through greater integration of climate adaptation efforts over time-scales from years to decades.


In addition, we developed learning materials to help students understand climate impacts on fisheries. We developed an undergraduate and high school educational module and pilot-tested with educators from Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, and New Jersey. In a case-study format, the module has been submitted to the NSF-funded National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. We also conducted outreach and discussions with U.S. Fisheries Management Councils (particularly the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council) to support their climate adaptation efforts. We have engaged with federal scientists at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center concerning the integration of fishing community metrics developed for this project into their “State of the Ecosystem” initiative. Finally, we contributed to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.


Last Modified: 11/03/2019
Modified by: Eli P Fenichel

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