Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 29 Issue 02

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Volume 29, No. 2
Pages 273 - 285


Biological Impacts of the 2013–2015 Warm-Water Anomaly in the Northeast Pacific: Winners, Losers, and the Future

By Letícia M. Cavole, Alyssa M. Demko, Rachel E. Diner, Ashlyn Giddings, Irina Koester, Camille M.L.S. Pagniello, May-Linn Paulsen, Arturo Ramirez-Valdez, Sarah M. Schwenck, Nicole K. Yen, Michelle E. Zill, and Peter J.S. Franks  
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Article Abstract

A large patch of anomalously warm water (nicknamed “the Blob”) appeared off the coast of Alaska in the winter of 2013–2014 and subsequently stretched south to Baja California. This northeastern Pacific warm-water anomaly persisted through the end of 2015. Scientists and the public alike noted widespread changes in the biological structure and composition of both open-ocean and coastal ecosystems. Changes included geographical shifts of species such as tropical copepods, pelagic red crabs, and tuna; closures of commercially important fisheries; and mass strandings of marine mammals and seabirds. The ecological responses to these physical changes have been sparsely quantified and are largely unknown. Here, we provide a bottom-up summary of some of the biological changes observed in and around the areas affected by the Blob.


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