Genetic variability in population responses of Atlantic cod to environmental change

About the project

A key challenge to successful management and the resolution of conflict is to correctly identify the spatial scale at which strategies for harvesting and climate-change mitigation should be developed. A spatial mismatch between management and biological units can have severe and long-term socio-economic consequences. Catch levels set at an inappropriately large spatial scale will result in higher fishing mortality, and a greater risk of overfishing and depletion, on smaller stocks. From a climate-change perspective, a spatial mismatch between management units and biological units will reduce Norway's ability to effectively adapt integrated management practices at spatial scales appropriate to the spatial scales of adaptation by marine organisms to climate change.
If spatial mismatches between management units and biological/evolutionary units are not resolved, management cannot successfully adopt the changes necessary to jointly mitigate the impacts of fishing and climate change.
The proposed research will serve to reduce this mismatch by determining the genetic basis of responses by Atlantic cod to environmental change, thereby allowing for a deeper understanding of the importance of local adaptation and spatial scale for successful management and conflict resolution. The first component of the work will involve 'common-garden' experiments, whereby cod from different regions will be raised in the same environments. Different survival and growth responses to temperature (plasticity) by different populations will be indicative of genetic variation. We shall then identify the gene and genomic profiles associated with this plasticity for each cod population.
Our proposal illustrates how research in ecology (growth, survival, thermal responses) and evolution (adaptive plasticity, gene expression) can be combined to inform strategies for conflict resolution and successful management given the challenges posed by harvesting and climate change.


This project is funded by the Research Council of Norway.



01.01.2014 - 21.12.2015

Tags: Nordic, Canada
Published July 8, 2014 10:49 AM - Last modified June 3, 2016 3:08 PM