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Oceanic and local environmental conditions as forcing mechanisms of the glass eel recruitment to the southernmost European estuary

AuthorsArribas, Carmen ; Fernández-Delgado, Carlos; Oliva-Paterna, Francisco J.; Drake, Pilar
KeywordsGlass eels
Anguilla anguilla
Environmental factors
Guadalquivir estuary
Issue Date10-Jul-2012
CitationEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 107: 46-57 (2012)
AbstractThe main oceanic and local environmental traits forcing the glass eel Anguilla anguilla (L., 1758) recruitment to the southernmost European estuary, the Guadalquivir (SW Spain), were studied during nine successive migration seasons (June 1997–December 2006) using a fishery-independent experimental survey at three sampling sites in the estuary. A clear seasonal pattern was observed: density was highest between late autumn and spring with two migration peaks, and lowest during summer. Short-term (inter-month) changes in glass eel density were partially driven by local environmental variables, such as estuarine turbidity, local rainfall and water temperature. Long-term (inter-annual) changes were positively correlated with oceanic factors related to recruitment success (NAO index and primary production at the spawning area) as well as local environmental factors (westerly and southerly wind mixing indices and rainfall). Spatial changes in glass eel density within the estuary depended on tidal and light situations although maximum densities were mainly observed at diurnal and/or nocturnal flood tides. Although the decrease in the abundance of European glass eels has been widely known since the 1980s, during this study there was no evidence of a declining trend, probably because of an insufficiently long time series.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2012.04.024
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