Fish larvae at fronts: Horizontal and vertical distributions of gadoid fish larvae across a frontal zone at the Norwegian Trench

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Abstract

The reproduction and early life history of many fish species are linked to the physical and biological characteristics of fronts. In order to ascertain linkages between frontal physics and fish larvae, we investigated distributional differences among gadoid fish larvae comparing these to both horizontal and vertical variability in hydrography and abundances of potential copepod prey The investigation was carried out at a frontal zone along the Norwegian Trench in the northern North Sea, and was based on a series of cross-bathymetric sampling transects. Tows with a large ring net and an opening-closing net were used for describing fish larval horizontal and vertical distributions, while a submersible pump was used for describing vertical distributions of copepods. Hydrographic profiles and current velocity measurements were used to outline variability in temperature, salinity and current structure. Measurements demonstrated a distinct bottom front at the southern slope of the Trench with deepening isopycnals and high chlorphyll a concentrations. Abundances of both gadoid fish larvae and copepods peaked in vicinity of the front around mid-depth, and findings points to an inter-connection between the vertical and horizontal distributions of each species. However, the three-dimensional pattern of distribution differed significantly among species of larvae and species of copepods. The study underlines the complexity of bio-physical interrelationships in the frontal zone, and indicates that the zone encompasses specific ecological niches to which each species of fish larvae is adapted
Original languageEnglish
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume107
Pages (from-to)3-14
ISSN0967-0645
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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