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Influence of mesoscale physical forcing on trophic pathways and fish larvae retention in the central Cantabrian Sea

AuthorsGonzález-Quirós, Rafael; Pascual, Ananda ; Gomis, Damià ; Anadón, Ricardo
Issue Date2004
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationFisheries Oceanography 13: 351- 364 (2004)
AbstractThis study was carried out over the central Cantabrian shelf during a post-bloom phase in May. Late phases of the spring phytoplankton bloom, which are characterized by high crustacean mesozooplankton biomass, have been proposed to be a particular case for high-energy flow towards large metazoans. The overall objective of the study is to analyse the influence of mesoscale physical forcing on primary production patterns, its implications on food web pathways, and on larval fish distribution during a period of intense spawning of Sardina pilchardus and Scomber scombrus. Physical and biological variables of different trophic levels show coupled cross-shelf and along-shelf heterogeneity. Quasi-geostrophic analysis and other indirect approaches, such as the depth of the slope salinity maximum, reveal predictable patterns of vertical instabilities associated with mesoscale physical forcing that enhance production of large-size phytoplankton. The latter is expected to enhance the energy flow towards higher trophic levels at a time of high mesozooplankton biomass. Distributions of S. pilchardus and S. scombrus eggs and larvae indicate retention related to the coastal salinity front and the overall eastward circulation pattern. The observed mesoscale physical processes may favour survival of early stages of fish by their influence on the energy flow of primary production towards higher trophic levels and larval retention at the coast.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2004.00295.x
issn: 1054-6006
e-issn: 1365-2419
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