Over a decade of sampling has shown that there are consistent differences in the sizes of 0-group plaice by late summer comparing 21 nursery sites on the Scottish west coast. However, when young fish were collected from two sites which produce particularly small and large fish and reared using a common garden design, growth rates between fish from the two sites were indistinguishable. Either there is little selection for fast or slow growth up to a few weeks post-settlement, or such effects do not persist sufficiently strongly to influence later growth. There were also no significant correlations between the time-series of fish size comparing sites, although within some sites there was evidence of inter-annual density-dependent effects. Any influences of offshore regional-scale factors, such as sea temperature or pelagic primary productivity on growth thus appear to be heavily modified by local conditions on the nursery grounds. The field observations combined with the experimental results lead us to conclude that the size 0-group plaice attain in late summer is mainly controlled by post-settlement habitat quality.
- Pleuronectes platessa
- Nursery Grounds
- Common garden Rearing
Fox, C. J., Targett, T. E., Ciotti, B. J., De Kroon, K., Hortsmeyer, L., & T. Burrows, M. (2014). Size variation of 0-group plaice: are earlier influences on growth potential a contributing factor? Journal of Sea Research, 88, 59-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2013.12.015