Climate Change

The Gulf of California is a unique region where geologic and oceanographic processes influence the biology and ecology features of both marine and terrestrial environments. Scientific research has demonstrated that El Niño Southern Oscillation cycles (ENSO) have a remarkable impact on the environment dynamics and on the biodiversity that inhabitant the diverse ecosystems. ENSO episodes are expected to increase in frequency and intensity due climate change. Therefore, continuous monitoring of oceanic-atmospheric systems and coastal and marine ecosystems are needed to evaluate potential changes in natural resources and their effects on human populations.

The Gulf of California Marine Program is working with historical datasets to quantify how Gulf communities have already changed and determine what future changes can be expected. Furthermore, we are studying the impacts of ENSO events on Gulf fishes and fisheries as a proxy for future Gulf-wide change. Using these data, we are beginning to understand the nature of interactions between physical, biological, and socioeconomic characteristics of coastal-marine ecosystems and their relevance for fishery stocks. We have also been able to demonstrate the northward migration of non-Gulf species into the region. Such information can be used to develop successful management and conservation strategies for changing reef fish populations and to complement research on biodiversity, marine reserves, and spawning aggregation.

Associated links:

  • Birds and Sardine fishery
  • Coastal habitats and reef fish


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