Testing the larval drift hypothesis in the Baltic Sea: retention versus dispersion caused by wind-driven circulation

H.H. Hinrichsen, Michael St. John, E. Aro, P. Grønkjær, R. Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Retention or dispersion of larvae from the spawning grounds has been identified as one of the key processes influencing recruitment success in fish stocks. To examine the potential effects of transport on recruitment. numerical simulations were performed utilizing a three-dimensional physical oceanographic model of the Baltic Sea. Cod larvae were represented as Lagrangian drifters released in the deepwater region of the Bornholm Basin, the main spawning ground for Baltic cod. Simulations were performed for the major spawning seasons of 1993 and 1994. when annual and interannual variability of meteorological forcing was large. The principal goals of the modelling exercise were first to identify the physical processes influencing the demersal distribution of the early life stages and second to describe the transport of the pelagic stages in response to variations in windstress, thereby identifying the meteorological and hydrodynamic mechanisms influencing retention and/or dispersal. The results suggest that periods of low wind, especially from northern and eastern directions, retain early life stages of cod within the deepwater region of the Bornholm Basin. Periods of higher windstress and duration from the west and south resulted in a rapid transport of larvae into shallow coastal regions. Based on the results obtained from these drift experiments and a wind data time series from the meteorological station Christiansoe a transport index has been developed, variations in annual retention/dispersal have been identified, and comparisons with variations in recruitment success are presented
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)973-984
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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