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Open AccessArticle

Influence of the Seasonal Thermocline on the Vertical Distribution of Larval Fish Assemblages Associated with Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Spawning Grounds

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Ecosystem’s Oceanography Group (GRECO), Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
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NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149, USA
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Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA
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Marine Resources Program, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2040 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365, USA
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South Florida Campus, University of Phoenix, Miramar, FL 33027, USA
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Instituto Español de Oceanografía—Centro Oceanográfico de Málaga (COM-IEO), 29640 Fuengirola, Spain
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National Research Council (CNR), Institute for Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies (IRBIM), 98122 Ancona, Italy
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Direcció General de Pesca i Medi Marí, Balearic Islands Government (GOIB), 07009 Palma, Spain
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Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System, Parc Bit, Naorte, Bloc A 2-3, 07121 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
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Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Gijón, 33212 Gijón, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Oceans 2021, 2(1), 64-83; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010004
Received: 23 July 2020 / Revised: 30 December 2020 / Accepted: 31 December 2020 / Published: 8 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fish Larval Biology and Ecology)
Temperature is often an important variable influencing the vertical position of fish larvae in the water column. The same species may show different vertical distributions in areas with a strong near-surface seasonal thermocline compared to isothermal near-surface regions. In areas with a strong surface thermocline, tuna larvae show a significant preference for the near-surface warmer layers. Little is known regarding larval tuna vertical distribution in isothermal waters and on the vertical distribution of the associated larval fish assemblages. We conducted vertical stratified sampling using the same methodology and fishing device (MOCNESS) in the two major spawning areas of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT): western Mediterranean Sea (MED), characterized by a surface thermocline, and the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) which lacks thermal stratification. Tuna larvae occupied the upper 30 m in both areas, but the average larval depth distribution was consistently deeper in the GOM. In the MED, vertical distribution of larval fish assemblages was explained by temperature, and species such as BFT, Thunnus alalunga, and Ceratoscopelus maderensis, among others, coexist above the thermocline and are separated from species such as Cyclothone braueri and Hygophum spp. (found below the thermocline). In the GOM, the environmental correlates of the vertical distribution of the larvae were salinity and fluorescence. Mesopelagic taxa such as Ceratoscopelus spp. and Cyclothone spp., among others, had a shallower average distribution than Lampanyctus spp., Hygophum spp., and Myctophum spp. View Full-Text
Keywords: vertical distribution; larval fish assemblages; bluefin tuna; spawning; larval fish ecology vertical distribution; larval fish assemblages; bluefin tuna; spawning; larval fish ecology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Alvarez, I.; Rasmuson, L.K.; Gerard, T.; Laiz-Carrion, R.; Hidalgo, M.; Lamkin, J.T.; Malca, E.; Ferra, C.; Torres, A.P.; Alvarez-Berastegui, D.; Alemany, F.; Quintanilla, J.M.; Martin, M.; Rodriguez, J.M.; Reglero, P. Influence of the Seasonal Thermocline on the Vertical Distribution of Larval Fish Assemblages Associated with Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Spawning Grounds. Oceans 2021, 2, 64-83. https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010004

AMA Style

Alvarez I, Rasmuson LK, Gerard T, Laiz-Carrion R, Hidalgo M, Lamkin JT, Malca E, Ferra C, Torres AP, Alvarez-Berastegui D, Alemany F, Quintanilla JM, Martin M, Rodriguez JM, Reglero P. Influence of the Seasonal Thermocline on the Vertical Distribution of Larval Fish Assemblages Associated with Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Spawning Grounds. Oceans. 2021; 2(1):64-83. https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010004

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alvarez, Itziar; Rasmuson, Leif K.; Gerard, Trika; Laiz-Carrion, Raul; Hidalgo, Manuel; Lamkin, John T.; Malca, Estrella; Ferra, Carmen; Torres, Asvin P.; Alvarez-Berastegui, Diego; Alemany, Francisco; Quintanilla, Jose M.; Martin, Melissa; Rodriguez, Jose M.; Reglero, Patricia. 2021. "Influence of the Seasonal Thermocline on the Vertical Distribution of Larval Fish Assemblages Associated with Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Spawning Grounds" Oceans 2, no. 1: 64-83. https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010004

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