Ichthyoplankton and juvenile fish in the Benguela upwelling region

The Benguela Current is situated in the South-East Atlantic off the coasts of South Africa and Namibia. It is one of the four great upwelling areas, transporting nutrient-rich waters from the deep to the surface. These waters are source for a high plankton and fish production. Consequently, upwelling systems such as the Benguela Current provide a major part of the world’s fisheries catch.

Scientists from the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Biology in Bremen investigate the qualitative and quantitative composition of the fish community in the northern part of the Benguela Current. Their focus is on the early life stages.

How are they affected by changing environmental parameters? Can processes during the early life history explain the observed changes in the composition of the pelagic fish community?

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Universität Hamburg
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GENUS (Geochemistry and Ecology of the Namibian Upwelling System) aims to clarify relationships between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem structure in the large marine ecosystem of the northern Benguela/Namibian Coast (sout-west Africa). The coastal upwelling system has high seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric forcing, in properties of water masses on the shelf offshore the Republic of Namibia, and in oxygen supply and demand on the shelf. In consequence, concentrations and ratios of nutrients in upwelling water and their CO2-content have steep gradients in space and time. In the past, significant and economically severe changes in ecosystem structure have occurred which are in part attributed to changes in physical forcing, translated to the ecosystem by oxygen dynamics.

The GENUS project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is an endorsed project of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER)

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