Fecundity regulation in relation to habitat utilisation of two sympatric flounder (Platichtys flesus) populations in the brackish water Baltic Sea

Anders Nissling, Anders Thorsen, Filipa F.G. da Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Two populations of flounder (Platichtys flesus) with different life history traits inhabit the brackish water Baltic Sea. Both types share feeding areas in coastal waters during summer-autumn but utilise different habitats for spawning in spring, namely offshore spawning with pelagic eggs and coastal spawning with demersal eggs respectively. Fecundity regulation by atresiawas assessed as prevalence (portion of fish with atresia) and intensity (calculated as the average intensity of atresia in these fish) during the reproductive cycle following start of gonad development in the autumn up to spawning in spring, and evaluated in relation to fish condition (Fulton's condition factor reflecting energy reserves of the fish) and feeding incidence of the respective population. Peaking in
winter (December–February), fecundity regulation was significantly higher for coastal spawning flounder than for flounder spawning offshore. For coastal spawners, the prevalence was 45–90% with an intensity of 6.4–9.3%
vs. 0–25% and an intensity of 2.1–3.4% for offshore spawners during winter. Further, fecundity regulation ceased prior to spawning for offshore spawners but continued for coastal spawners. For coastal spawners, the prevalence was 12–29% and an intensity of 2.5–6.1% during spawning. The change in fish condition was strongly related to feeding incidence and differed between populations. As feeding ceased, condition of offshore spawners decreased during winter up to spawning, whereas condition of coastal spawners decreased during autumn but was maintained as feeding started again prior to spawning. Thus, habitat utilisation according to spawning strategy affects the timing of fecundity down-regulation reflecting availability of resources, namely limited food resources in
deep areas and higher availability in coastal areas. Offshore spawning flounder display characteristics typical for a capital spawner with ceasing of feeding and oocyte down-regulationwell before spawning,whereas coastal spawning flounder can be characterised as intermediate between a capital and income spawner with feeding prior to and during spawning along with continuous fecundity-regulation
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Pages (from-to)188–195
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Flounder
  • Life-history traits
  • Fitness
  • Capital spawner
  • Fecundity
  • Atresia


Dive into the research topics of 'Fecundity regulation in relation to habitat utilisation of two sympatric flounder (Platichtys flesus) populations in the brackish water Baltic Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this