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Implications of Future Shifts in Migration, Spawning, and Other Life Events of Coastal Fish and Wildlife Species

Ecological and Management Implications of Climate Change Induced Shifts in Phenology of Coastal Fish and Wildlife Species in the Northeast Climate Science Center Region
Principal Investigator
Adrian Jordaan


Start Date
End Date
Release Date


Climate change is causing species to shift their phenology, or the timing of recurring life events such as migration and spawning, in variable and complex ways. This can potentially result in mismatches or asynchronies in food and habitat resources that negatively impact individual fitness, population dynamics, and ecosystem function. Numerous studies have evaluated phenological shifts in terrestrial species, particularly birds and plants, yet far fewer evaluations have been conducted for marine animals. This project sought to improve our understanding of shifts in the timing of seasonal migration, spawning or breeding, and biological development (i.e. life stages present, dominant) of coastal fishes and migratory waterbirds along [...]

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“Arctic tern - Credit: Ken Conger, NPS”
thumbnail 146.09 KB image/jpeg
“Gulf of Main -Credit: Michelle Staudinger, USGS”
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Tern_w.smallherring (M.Staudinger, USGS).JPG
“Tern with small herring - Credit: Michelle Staudinger, USGS”
thumbnail 4.35 MB image/jpeg

Project Extension

typeTechnical Summary
valueThe overall objective of this project is to increase our understanding of shifting phenology on fish and migratory waterbirds species that inhabit Northeast coastal habitats, and provide information to future efforts seeking to evaluate the implications of those shifts on community dynamics and ecosystem services. Working with State and Federal management agencies, this project will identify a priority list of fish stocks in the NE CSC region known to make seasonal migrations (e.g., in and out of spawning, nursery, or feeding grounds) as the focus of a literature review and data synthesis. Datasets will primarily come from long-term fishery independent monitoring programs (e.g., NEFSC bottom trawl survey; State trawl, seine, river, fish ladder surveys), but may also include fishery-dependent data (e.g. catch logs). The suite of species selected will allow us to compare whether populations from different trophic levels are shifting the timing of their seasonal migrations (i.e., phenology) in and out of northeastern habitats (e.g., inshore/offshore; latitudinal) at different rates, thus influencing trophic interactions and population dynamics. Where sufficient long-term species observations (e.g., abundance, occurrence) and environmental monitoring data (e.g., SST) exist, we will use ecological and statistical modelling techniques to evaluate whether phenological shifts can be explained/correlated to climatological, oceanographic or other variables. Project products will include at least one peer reviewed publication, a citation library, maps of where and over what time scales phenological shifts have been observed for individual species, and an aggregated database of phenological datasets, with metadata.
typeCooperative Agreement

Budget Extension


Gulf of Main -Credit: Michelle Staudinger, USGS
Gulf of Main -Credit: Michelle Staudinger, USGS


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Northeast CASC

Associated Items



Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC aa3a02ee-47aa-49b3-bd18-0cc5c7335112
StampID NCCWSC NE14-PH0377

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