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From research conducted at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)

Salty sardines instead of cod filet

The North Sea is becoming warmer: over the past fifty years, seawater temperatures have risen by more than 1.5 degrees centigrade – too much for many organisms.

Epifauna
Die mit der Flut auf die Wattflächen kommenden Tiere werden in einem Netzrahmen (pop-net) gefangen und mit einem Kescher aus dem Wasser geschöpft. Photo/Graphic: H. Asmus.

Several species of fish have responded sensitively: coldwater fish have migrated northwards and warm water species have moved in from the south. Dr. Lars Gutow and his colleagues at AWI have closely followed these gradual changes. What significance do the invasive species have for the ecosystem? How do they compete with native species? The answers to these questions will improve predictions of how the North Sea food web will develop in the future and how the fishing industry and society must adapt. As Gutow puts it, “It is important that we not only realise that everything can change, but that we develop ways to deal with the upcoming changes so that we can continue to meet the great challenge of feeding the world.”

Cornelia Reichert