A study published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series has found significant changes in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. The key difference is a five-fold decline in the growth of phytoplankton, which is the basis of the entire marine ecosystem. The paper suggests that a reason for this decline is the amount of run-off in local rivers caused by an increase in rainfall. This rainfall is suspected to be a result of increasing global temperatures. Jake Kritzer, a senior scientist and director of spatial management at the Environmental Defense Fund in Boston, said the study could affect future assessments of fish stocks:
“The study by Dr. Balch and his colleagues provides one of the most compelling arguments that systematic climatic and oceanographic changes are fundamentally altering the very basis of the ocean food web, very likely beyond the capacity of assessment models trying to capture dynamics spanning many decades”. The full research paper is available to download as a pdf.