Variations in the drift of larval cod ( Gadus morhua L.) in the Baltic Sea : combining field observations and modelling

R. Voss, H.H. Hinrichsen, Michael St. John

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Coupled three-dimensional (3-D) physical oceanographic modelling and field sampling programmes were carried out in May 1988 and August 1991 to investigate the potential drift of larval cod (Gadus morhua L.) in the Bornholm Basin of the Baltic Sea. The goals were to predict the transport of cod larvae, thus aiding the identification of physical processes influencing larval retention/dispersal. Numerical simulations were performed using a 3-D eddy-resolving baroclinic model based on the Bryan-Cox-Semtner code adapted for the Baltic Sea. Within the Bornholm Basin, the model was initialized with ground truth data of physical parameters obtained on the research cruises, and all simulations were forced with actual wind data. Outside the basin, generalized hydrographic features of the Baltic Sea were utilized by incorporation of simulated hydrographic fields from previous model runs typical for the time periods considered. Larval drift was simulated either by incorporation of passive drifters, or as the initial horizontal distribution of larvae implemented into the model. Drift model simulations of larval transport agreed relatively well with field observations. The influence of variations in the vertical distribution on a smaller scale, i.e. vertical deviations of +/- 6 m from the observed mean centre of mass, on the drift was examined, revealing no significant differences in the drift of larvae depending on their vertical distribution. The different wind forcing during the investigated time periods was linked to a retention situation in May 1988 and to a dispersal situation in August 1991. Finally, observed spatial distribution patterns of 1-group cod based on Baltic Young Fish Surveys (BYFS) were compared with their predicted transport in the larval phase and examined with respect to recruitment
Original languageEnglish
JournalFisheries Oceanography
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)199-211
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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