The German Bight (North Sea) is a nursery area for both locally and externally produced sprat juveniles

Baumann, Hannes, Malzahn, A. M., Voss, Rüdiger and Temming, A. (2009) The German Bight (North Sea) is a nursery area for both locally and externally produced sprat juveniles Journal of Sea Research, 61 . pp. 234-243. DOI 10.1016/j.seares.2009.01.004.

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To better understand the role of the German Bight (GB) as a nursery area for juvenile North Sea sprat Sprattus sprattus we sought to determine whether the area may receive only locally or also externally produced offspring. We sampled juveniles during 3 trawl surveys in the GB in August, September, and October 2004 and applied otolith microstructure analysis in order to reconstruct their distributions of the day-of-first-increment-formation (dif). These were contrasted with spatial and seasonal patterns of sprat egg abundance in the GB and its adjacent areas, observed during 6 monthly plankton surveys. It was found that the majority of juveniles originated mainly from April/May 2004, coinciding with high spawning activity west of the GB, whereas spawning and larval production inside the GB peaked notably later, in May/June. This indicated that a large proportion of juveniles was produced outside the GB and transported subsequently into it through passive and/or active migration. Shifts to later mean difs from one survey to the next and length distributions indicative of the simultaneous presence of multiple cohorts, supported the notion that the GB is a complex retention and nursery area for sprat offspring from different North Sea spawning grounds and times. Later born juveniles had significantly faster initial growth rates than earlier born conspecifics, which was likely temperature-mediated, given the strong correlation between back-calculated growth histories and sea surface temperature as a proxy for thermal histories of juveniles (r2 = 0.52).

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Nursery Area; Otolith Microstructure Analysis; Egg Production; Larval Production; Helgoland Roads; Temperature–Growth Relationship
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.seares.2009.01.004
ISSN: 1385-1101
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2009 11:24
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2012 04:06

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