Spatial and temporal variations in female size at maturity of a Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) population: A likely response to climate change

Autoři: Lachlan J. McLeay aff001;  Mark J. Doubell aff001;  Adrian J. Linnane aff001
Působiště autorů: South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide, South Australia, Australia aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225144


The size at which sexual maturity is reached is a key population parameter used to guide the setting of minimum legal size limits in fisheries. Understanding spatial and temporal variations in size at maturity is fundamental to management because the relationship between size at maturity and minimum legal size limits affects the fraction of the mature population biomass that is harvested, and resulting egg production, larval settlement and recruitment. This study measured the size at maturity of female Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) across South Australia between 1991 and 2015 in relation to known oceanographic characteristics, surface and subsurface temperature data, and relative changes in lobster abundance. There was pronounced north to south spatial variation in estimates of size at maturity. Larger average size at maturity was recorded in warmer north-western areas of the fishery relative to the cooler waters of the south-east. Estimates of size at maturity also differed over 25 years across the fishery. However, the nature of temporal responses varied spatially, and were more consistent with variations in surface and subsurface water temperature at local-scales than changes in lobster density. In the well-mixed waters of the north-western, western and south-eastern parts of the fishery, relatively high rates of increase in sea-surface temperature and size at maturity were recorded since 1991, indicating that size at maturity may be responding to ocean warming associated with global climate change. In more central parts of the fishery, contrasting temporal signals in sea-surface temperature (positive) and bottom temperature (negative) indicated increases in upwelling strength over the study period, and formation of a bottom cold pool below a warm surface layer, with corresponding decreases in size at maturity recorded. The spatio-temporal changes in size at maturity measured in this study highlight the need for oceanographic information to be integrated into future stock assessment models to enhance harvest strategy development, allow timely adaptive management decisions and increase the resilience of fisheries to the impacts of climate change.

Klíčová slova:

Australia – Climate change – Fisheries – Lobsters – Marine fish – Ocean temperature – Oceanography – Oceans


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