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2018
Munch, SB, Giron-Nava A, Sugihara G.  2018.  Nonlinear dynamics and noise in fisheries recruitment: A global meta-analysis. Fish and Fisheries. 19:964-973.   10.1111/faf.12304   AbstractWebsite

The relative importance of environmental and intrinsic controls on recruitment in fishes has been studied for over a century. Despite this, we are not much closer to predicting recruitment. Rather, recent analyses suggest that recruitment is virtually independent of stock size and, instead, seems to occur in distinct environmental regimes. This issue of whether or not recruitment and subsequent production are coupled to stock size is highly relevant to management. Here, we apply empirical dynamical modelling (EDM) to a global database of 185 fish populations to address the questions of whether or not variation in recruitment is (a) predictable and (b) coupled to stock size. We find that a substantial fraction of recruitment variation is predictable using only the observed history of fluctuations (similar to 40% on average). In addition, although recruitment is often coupled to stock size (107 of 185 stocks), stock size alone explains very little of the variation in recruitment; In similar to 90% of the stocks analysed, EDM forecasts have substantially lower prediction error than models based solely on stock size. We find that predictability varies across taxa and improves with the number of generations that have been sampled. In the light of these results, we suggest that EDM will be of greatest use in managing relatively short-lived species.