Hydrographic influence on the spawning habitat suitability of western Baltic cod (Gadus morhua)

K. Hüssy, H.-H. Hinrichsen, B. Huwer

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Hydrographic influence on the spawning habitat suitability of western Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 1736–1743.Recruitment variability of marine fish is influenced by the reproductive potential of the stock (i.e. stock characteristics and abundance) and the survival of early life stages, mediated by environmental conditions of both a physical (water temperature, salinity and oxygen conditions, ocean currents) and a biological nature (i.e. food, predators). The objective of this study is to assess the importance of variability in environmental conditions within different western Baltic cod spawning grounds for egg survival. Habitat identification was based on environmental threshold levels for egg survival and development and ambient hydrographical conditions at different times during the spawning season. The long-term resolution of environmental conditions allowing survival of western Baltic cod eggs indicates that favourable conditions predominantly occurred during the late spawning season in April/May, while minimum survival rates could be expected from January to March. Unsuitable time periods and habitats exhibiting the highest mortality rates are exclusively characterized by ambient water temperatures below the critical survival threshold. Despite the strong influence of water temperature on habitat suitability, the impact of habitat suitability on recruitment was not clearly defined, suggesting that other mechanisms regulate year class strength
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1736-1743
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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