Spatial distribution pattern of European hake Merluccius merluccius (Pisces: Merlucciidae) in the Mediterranean Sea
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AuthorsSion, Letizia; Zupa, W.; Calculli, C.; Bitetto, I. (Isabella); Carlucci, R. (Roberto); Esteban-Acón, A. (Antonio); Follesa, M.C. (Maria Cristina); Garofalo, G. (Germana); Guijarro, B. (Beatriz); Hidalgo, M. (Manuel); Ikica, Zdravko; Isajlovic, I.
The present study provides updated information on the occurrence, abundance and biomass distribution patterns and length frequencies of Merluccius merluccius in the Mediterranean Sea, by analysing a time series of data from the Medi- terranean International Trawl Surveys (MEDITS) from 1994 to 2015. The highest values of abundance and biomass were observed in the Sardinian Seas. The use of a generalized additive model, in which standardized biomass indices (kg km–2) were analysed as a function of environmental variables, explained how ecological factors could affect the spatio-temporal distribution of European hake biomass in the basin. High biomass levels predicted by the model were observed especially at 200 m depth and between 14°C and 18°C, highlighting the preference of the species for colder waters. A strong reduction of biomass was observed since the year 2009, probably due to the strengthening of the seasonal thermocline that had greatly reduced the availability of food. The general ...
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