The importance of individual behaviour for successful settlement of juvenile plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.): a modelling and field study in the eastern Irish Sea

Clive Fox, P McCloghrie, E F Young, R D M Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

To study the transport of plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.) eggs and larvae in the eastern Irish Sea, we constructed a 3D-baroclinic physical model and coupled it to a particle-tracking scheme that allowed aspects of larval behaviour to be simulated. Starting positions for eggs were based upon data from a series of ichthyoplankton surveys and final positions were compared with results of settled plaice distributions from two beam trawl surveys conducted on beaches around the eastern Irish Sea. If simulated larval behaviour was limited to passive drift or horizontal swimming, the particles diffused away from the spawning areas but failed to reach nursery grounds in significant numbers (85-90% remaining offshore). In contrast, switching on circatidal vertical swimming significantly increased the numbers of larvae reaching the coast (only 23-30% remained offshore). Particles tended to accumulate in bays and estuaries and this pattern compared well with the distribution of settled plaice from the field surveys. Studies in the southern North Sea (where spawning and nursery grounds are widely separated) have also demonstrated the importance of selective tidal stream transport for successful recruitment of settling plaice to nursery grounds. Although our understanding of the ontogeny of this behaviour is still poor, the model results presented suggest that this aspect of behaviour is a key factor influencing plaice settlement success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalFISH OCEANOGR
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Keywords

  • NORTH-SEA
  • SPEED PLANKTON SAMPLERS
  • SCOTTISH SANDY BEACH
  • ISLE-OF-MAN
  • MARINE ANIMALS
  • PORT-ERIN BAY
  • Fisheries
  • MORTALITY
  • LIFE-HISTORY STAGES
  • Oceanography
  • TRANSPORT
  • LARVAE

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