Review of western Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) recruitment dynamics

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Abstract

Important processes in the recruitment dynamics of western Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) are identified. Spawning areas are in the deep, saline waters below 20–40 m, depending on area topography. Spatial distribution remains relatively stable over time. Peak spawning shows an area-specific pattern, with progressively later spawning towards the east. Genetic stock structure and tagging indicate some degree of natal homing for spawning. The highly variable hydrodynamic conditions and the fact that cod eggs float in the water column cause their entrainment by currents, and their destination is determined by the prevailing winds and currents. Drift is almost exclusively to the east, but the magnitude and its impact on the structure of the affected stocks (Kattegat, western Baltic, and eastern Baltic) remains unresolved. Salinity limits the east–west exchange of eggs as a consequence of the stocks' differential requirement for neutral buoyancy. Superimposed on this, oxygen content and temperature have a significant effect on fertilization, egg/larva development, and survival. Within the Baltic Sea ecosystem, mixing of stocks may be anticipated and is particularly pronounced in the Arkona Basin because of its use for spawning by both western and eastern stocks, the advection of early life stages from the west and immigration/emigration from the east.
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume68
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1459-1471
ISSN1054-3139
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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