PhD - Spatial dynamics of range expanding gilthead bream in UK inshore waters
Species range shifts can occur naturally, or as a result of anthropogenic climate change. This can bring potential new target species for UK fisheries and aquaculture, but it is important to understand effects these species have on local ecosystems. The gilthead bream Sparus aurata is one of the most sought after warm-temperate marine fish species in Europe, and the rise of sea surface water temperature is thought to be responsible for an apparent range expansion of gilthead bream into the English Channel and Celtic Sea. With further climate warming this species is likely to expand its range further along the British coast.
Currently little is known about the S. aurata population in the UK but adult fish are caught in the spring/summer months, and juveniles have been observed in recent years. I am using a range of techniques to explore the population’s ecology and distribution at the current northern limit of its range. These include: otolith microchemistry and acoustic tags to investigate estuary use and site fidelity; stable isotope analysis to investigate temporal and spatial diet patterns; and species distribution modelling to explore mechanisms behind the range expansion. The findings will be of importance to and benefit both commercial and recreational fisheries, the related coastal tourism sector and conservationists managing the long term sustainability of inshore fisheries.
Prior to starting a PhD I worked as a marine adviser to government, advising on new conservation designations, marine monitoring and sustainable development.