An ensemble analysis to predict future habitats of striped marlin (Kajikia audax) in the North Pacific Ocean

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Striped marlin is a highly migratory species distributed throughout the North Pacific Ocean, which shows considerable variation in spatial distribution as a consequence of habitat preference. This species may therefore shift its range in response to future changes in the marine environment driven by climate change. It is important to understand the factors determining the distribution of striped marlin and the influence of climate change on these factors, to develop effective fisheries management policies given the economic importance of the species and the impact of fishing. We examined the spatial patterns and habitat preferences of striped marlin using generalized additive models fitted to data from longline fisheries. Future distributions were predicted using an ensemble analysis, which represents the uncertainty due to several global climate models and greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The increase in water temperature driven by climate change is predicted to lead to a northward displacement of striped marlin in the North Pacific Ocean. Use of a simple predictor of water temperature to describe future distribution, as in several previous studies, may not be robust, which emphasizes that variables other than sea surface temperatures from bioclimatic models are needed to understand future changes in the distribution of large pelagic species.

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