Temperature and body size affect recruitment and survival of sandeel across the North Sea

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Climate effects on marine fish depend on life stage, particularly when life stages differ in habitat utilization. In the present study, we investigated life stage-dependent responses of lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) to temperature at contrasting geographical scales. We related population density and individual growth to temperature and found different temperature responses between the first and the second years of life. During the first year of life, fish size was the single most important factor influencing sandeel abundances, indicating a positive relationship between growth and survival. In contrast, during the second year of life, autumn bottom temperature was negatively correlated with sandeel abundance, suggesting elevated mortality in warm years. Southerly areas, experiencing higher temperatures in general, were also the areas showing the strongest response to temperature. This study sheds light on how warming impacts population dynamics of one of the most important forage fishes in the North Sea and supports the discussion of underlying mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfsaa165
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1409-1420
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Ammodytes
  • Climate change
  • Forage fish
  • Life history
  • Oncogeny
  • Productivity
  • Recruitment
  • Short-lived species
  • Warming


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