Survival probability of Baltic larval cod in relation to spatial overlap patterns with their prey obtained from drift model studies

H.H. Hinrichsen, J.O. Schmidt, C. Petereit, C. Möllmann

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Temporal mismatch between the occurrence of larvae and their prey potentially affects the spatial overlap and thus the contact rates between predator and prey. This might have important consequences for growth and survival. We performed a case study investigating the influence of circulation patterns on the overlap of Baltic cod larvae with their prey. A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was used to analyse spatio-temporally resolved drift patterns of larval Baltic cod. A coefficient of overlap between modelled larval and idealized prey distributions indicated the probability of predator-prey overlap, dependent on the hatching time of cod larvae. By performing model runs for the years 1979-1998 investigated the intra- and interannual variability of potential spatial overlap between predator and prey. Assuming uniform prey distributions, we generally found the overlap to have decreased since the mid-1980s, but with the highest variability during the 1990s. Seasonally, predator-prey overlap on the Baltic cod spawning grounds was highest in summer and lowest at the end of the cod spawning season. Horizontally variable prey distributions generally resulted in decreased overlap coefficients. Finally, we related variations in overlap patterns to the variability of Baltic cod recruitment success. (c) 2005 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)878-885
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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