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Dispersal patterns of the eggs and larvae of spring-spawning fish in the Irish Sea, UK

Dispersal patterns of the eggs and larvae of spring-spawning fish in the Irish Sea, UK,10.1016/j.seares.2007.07.003,Journal of Sea Research,Johan van

Dispersal patterns of the eggs and larvae of spring-spawning fish in the Irish Sea, UK   (Citations: 14)
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Many marine species produce pelagic propagules which, because of their life-history characteristics and the local hydrodynamics, can disperse considerable distances from the point of release. Distances travelled are affected by factors such as: release time and location, egg and larval stage duration, local environmental conditions and active swimming and settlement behaviours. Understanding such dispersal patterns is important for the design of effective ecosystem-conservation strategies. We used a regional scale, coupled physical-biological model for the Irish Sea to simulate the possible dispersal of eggs and larvae of five species of fish with contrasting early life histories (cod Gadus morhua, plaice Pleuronectes platessa, witch Glyptocephalus cynoglossus, sprat Sprattus sprattus and pogge Agonus cataphractus). The hydrodynamic model was forced with meteorological data for 1995, a year when extensive plankton surveys were conducted in the Irish Sea. A particle tracking method featuring particle release (spawning) and species-dependent particle development and behaviour was then run based on flow and temperature fields from the hydrodynamical model. Modelled larval distributions and settlement areas corresponded favourably with observations from field sampling. The settlement destinations (or onset of shoaling for sprat) were affected both by their initial spawning location and by the species-specific development rates and behaviours coded into the model. Eggs and larvae typically remained within 160 km of their spawning origin, although a minority travelled up to 300 km. Even in a relatively enclosed sea such as the Irish Sea, fish eggs and larvae can be dispersed over 100s of km. This provides a major challenge for the design of effective spatial management strategies if it is necessary to protect a species across its life-history stages. Further progress in the design of effective conservation measures for species or communities will need an integrated approach taking account of key aspects of early life history and behaviour.
Journal: Journal of Sea Research - J SEA RES , vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 313-330, 2007
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