Spatio-temporal patterns and morphological characterisation of multispecies pelagic fish schools in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea
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Echosounder data from four surveys (1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996) is used to investigate the spatio-temporal variability of school behaviour in North-Western Mediterranean waters. The schools are described using morphological, energetic, spatial and temporal descriptors. The variability in the morphological, positional and energetic parameters of the schools is attributable more to the size of the school's individuals (juveniles or adults) than to the relative composition (percentage) of pelagic species in the area. This fact made difficult the identification of species in the studied area. The concentration of schools in certain geographic zones is determined by local oceanographic characteristics that favour the trophic or reproductive activity of these species. The diurnal aggregative behaviour of pelagic species is typical of the zone and no schools were detected at night. The biomass of the pelagic species in the area under consideration has diminished during the 4-year study period ...