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The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward Country Convention Center, location of the ICES ASC 2017.

ConEvolHer represented with a theme session at the ICES ASC 2017

At this year’s ICES Annual Science Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ConEvolHer will be present with its own session.  Session P on recruitment dynamics in a changing environment takes up one of the project’s key question, the drivers of recruitment variability and impacts on stock assessment and management. The session will be convened by ConEvolHer members Katja Enberg and Fabian Zimmermann together with LaTreese Denson (USA). The call for abstracts is now open!

Most fish stocks exhibit large recruitment variability that cannot be explained with the stock size alone but appears to be the product of a range of factors, including environmental and ecological drivers, but also population dynamics and evolutionary life-history. Because recruitment determines stock productivity and the short- to mid-term development of a stock, it is of particular importance for the management of fish stocks and sustainable catch regulations. However, these fluctuations in recruitment and the occurrence of very strong year classes or recruitment failures are difficult or even impossible to predict.

Despite a long history of research on recruitment dynamics, few specific drivers have been identified or even quantified. Yet understanding and disentangling the drivers of recruitment dynamics is crucial to model population dynamics and to predict responses to environmental change or anthropogenic impacts. This applies particularly to stocks of small pelagic species such a Norwegian spring-spawning herring, which are prone to large variability in year classes that can subsequently determine the trend in stock size for years. One of the major goals of ConEvolHer is to explore recruitment variability in Northeast Atlantic fish stocks, synchrony between them (the co-occurrence of strong or weak year classes in several stocks within an ecosystem) and potential (common) drivers.

At the ICES Annual Science Conference the session P “Recruitment dynamics in a changing environment: integrating spatial and temporal variability into stock assessment and management strategies” is rooted in ConEvolHer’s research topics and offers a broad framework to explore existing knowledge as well as open questions on recruitment dynamics, their patterns in time and space, potential drivers, and consequences for stock assessment and management. Different perspectives ranging from individual life-history to large-scale ocean circulations and climate change and from physiology to oceanography to bioeconomics are explicitly invited. The call for abstracts is now open!