Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 323–336 | Cite as

A review of the global relationship among freshwater fish, autotrophic activity, and regional climate

  • Andrew M. Deines
  • David B. Bunnell
  • Mark W. Rogers
  • T. Douglas BeardJr.
  • William W. Taylor


The relationship between autotrophic activity and freshwater fish populations is an important consideration for ecologists describing trophic structure in aquatic communities, fisheries managers tasked with increasing sustainable fisheries development, and fish farmers seeking to maximize production. Previous studies of the empirical relationships of autotrophic activity and freshwater fish yield have found positive relationships but were limited by small sample sizes, small geographic scopes, and the inability to compare patterns among many types of measurement techniques. Individual studies and reviews have also lacked consistent consideration of regional climate factors which may inform relationships between fisheries and autotrophic activity. We compiled data from over 700 freshwater systems worldwide and used meta-analysis and linear models to develop a comprehensive global synthesis between multiple metrics of autotrophic activity, fisheries, and climate indicators. Our results demonstrate that multiple metrics of fish (i.e., catch per unit effort, yield, and production) increase with autotrophic activity across a variety of fisheries. At the global scale additional variation in this positive relationship can be ascribed to regional climate differences (i.e., temperature and precipitation) across systems. Our results provide a method and proof-of-concept for assessing inland fisheries production at the global scale, where current estimates are highly uncertain, and may therefore inform the continued sustainable use of global inland fishery resources.


Chlorophyll A Meta-analysis Correlation Climate Lakes Fisheries 



David Bennion, Colin Brooks, Ian Cowx, Jillian Deines, Amanda Grimm, Zachary Raymer, Michael Sayers, Robert Shuchman, Whitney Woelmer, and Dave Warner provided useful insight, discussion, comments and geospatial support. We thank Devin Bartley and two anonymous reviews for their comments and suggestions on an earlier version. Funding support was provided by the US Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government. This article is Contribution 1924 of the US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew M. Deines
    • 1
  • David B. Bunnell
    • 2
  • Mark W. Rogers
    • 3
  • T. Douglas BeardJr.
    • 4
  • William W. Taylor
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Systems Integration and SustainabilityMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science CenterAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science CenterSanduskyUSA
  4. 4.US Geological Survey National Climate Change Wildlife Science CenterRestonUSA
  5. 5.Center for Systems Integration and SustainabilityMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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