Striped Bass Link OOI Pioneer Array Locations
A recent article in the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette tells a fascinating tale of how fish like striped bass respond to changes in ocean conditions. The striped bass story also provides links between the current OOI Pioneer Array location on the New England Shelf (NES) and the new location in the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB).
The Northwest Atlantic has been warming due to both atmospheric and oceanographic influences (e.g., Chen et al., 2014; Gawarkiewicz et al., 2019) and the impacts can bee seen in the distribution of marine species like stripers. The stripers are typically found on the New England Shelf in the spring, with bass fishing tournaments a long-held tradition for islands like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cuttyhunk. But conditions are changing, and as the waters warm, the stripers appear to be moving further north. Data from the NES Pioneer Array are helping researchers and fishers understand the changes.
Stripers spawn in brackish water and spend their first few years in estuarine waters like those of the Chesapeake Bay. These waters are changing too, with earlier springs modifying spawning behavior. Understanding how environmental conditions impact the life cycle of stripers from estuary to open ocean requires knowledge of the atmosphere, continental shelf waters, and the Gulf Stream. Finally, it is necessary to investigate interactions that exchange properties between estuaries, shelf and slope sea – which will be the focus of the MAB Pioneer Array currently being planned for implementation in 2024.
Chen, K., G. G. Gawarkiewicz, S. J. Lentz, and J. M. Bane (2014), Diagnosing the warming of the Northeastern U.S. Coastal Ocean in 2012: A linkage between the atmospheric jet stream variability and ocean response, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 119, doi:10.1002/2013JC009393.
Gawarkiewicz G, Chen K, Forsyth J, Bahr F, Mercer AM, Ellertson A, Fratantoni P, Seim H, Haines S and Han L (2019), Characteristics of an Advective Marine Heatwave in the Middle Atlantic Bight in Early 2017. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:712. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00712.
Schneider, P. (2022), Climate Change Clue: Follow the Stripers. Vineyard Gazette, 12 May 2022.