Influence of the Seasonal Thermocline on the Vertical Distribution of Larval Fish Assemblages Associated with Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Spawning Grounds
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AuthorsÁlvarez, I. (Itziar); Rasmuson, L.K. (Leif K.); Gerard, T. (Trika); Laiz-Carrión, R. (Raúl); Hidalgo, M. (Manuel); Lamkin, J.T. (John T.); Malca, E. (Estrella); Ferra, Carmen; Torres, A.P. (Asvin Pérez); Álvarez-Berastegui, D. (Diego); Alemany, F. (Francisco); Quintanilla-Hervás, J.M. (José María); Martín, M. (Melissa); Rodríguez, J.M. (José María); Reglero, P. (Patricia)
larval fish assemblages
larval fish ecology
Temperature is often an important variable influencing the vertical position of fish larvae in the water column. The same species may show different vertical distributions in areas with a strong near-surface seasonal thermocline compared to isothermal near-surface regions. In areas with a strong surface thermocline, tuna larvae show a significant preference for the near-surface warmer layers. Little is known regarding larval tuna vertical distribution in isothermal waters and on the vertical distribution of the associated larval fish assemblages. We conducted vertical stratified sampling using the same methodology and fishing device (MOCNESS) in the two major spawning areas of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT): western Mediterranean Sea (MED), characterized by a surface thermocline, and the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) which lacks thermal stratification. Tuna larvae occupied the upper 30 m in both areas, but the average larval depth distribution was consistently deeper in the GOM. In the MED, vertical ...
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