Linking climate to population variability in marine ecosystems characterized by non-simple dynamics: Conceptual templates and schematic constructs

Andrew Bakun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


The ability to abstract and symbolize ideas and knowledge as simplified schematic constructs is an important element of scientific creativity and communication. Availability of such generalized symbolic constructs may be particularly important when addressing a complex adaptive system such as a marine ecosystem. Various examples have appeared in the climate-fisheries literature, each more or less effectively integrating hypothesized effects of several interacting environmental and/or biological processes in controlling population dynamics of exploited fish species. A selection of these are herein presented and reviewed, including match-mismatch, connectivity, school trap, loopholes, ocean triads, stable ocean hypothesis, several classes of nonlinear feedback loops (e.g., 'P2P', school-mix feedback, predator pit), as well as several prominent large-scale integrative climatic index series (SOI, NAO, PDO). The importance of considering the potential for adaptation and/or rapid evolution is stressed. An argument is offered for the potential utility of such widely recognizable schematic concepts in offering relatively well-understood, fairly well-defined frameworks for comparative identification and elaboration of important mechanistic linkages between climate variability and fishery dynamics, as well as in easing effective communication among scientists from different regions and disciplinary backgrounds. Certain difficulties in the application of the comparative method are discussed. It is suggested that alleviation of such difficulties may be one of the major benefits of international collaborative programs such as GLOBEC and IMBER.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 10 2010



  • Adaptive response
  • Climate effects
  • Comparative studies
  • Complex adaptive systems
  • Environmental conditions
  • Fish recruitment
  • Fisheries oceanography
  • Temporal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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