Nonstationary environmental and community relationships in the North Pacific Ocean
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AuthorsLitzow, Michael; Ciannelli, L. (Lorenzo); Puerta, P. (Patricia); Rykaczewski, Ryan; Wettstein, Justin; Opiekun, Michael
Gulf of Alaska
North Pacific Gyre Oscillation
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Common approaches for summarizing multivariate environmental or community data assume that relationships among variables are stationary over time, and this assumption is often not tested. Here we test the hypothesis that relationships among environmental and community time series are nonstationary in the Gulf of Alaska ecosystem (North Pacific Ocean) over multidecadal time scales. Dynamic factor analysis (DFA) is applied to environmental and community data from before and after 1988/1989, corresponding to the timing of an abrupt decline in temporal variance of the Aleutian Low atmospheric pattern, a leading driver of Gulf of Alaska climate. Results show that covariance among local atmosphere and ocean environmental variables weakened simultaneous to the decline in Aleutian Low variance. At the same time, community-wide responses of 14 fish and crustacean populations to physical forcing weakened, as indicated by nonstationary environment–biology regression coefficients. In line with ...