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Environmental conditions, satellite imagery, and clupeoid recruitment in the northern Benguela upwelling system

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The relationship between oceanographic conditions and clupeoid (pilchard, Sardinops sagax, and anchovy, Engraulis capensis) recruitment in the northern Benguela upwelling system was investigated from 1981 to 1987 using a time-series of mean weekly SST images. Two approaches were taken. The first involved correlating recruitment success with the number of weekly coastal `SST events' above various cut-off temperatures during the main reproductive season. The second involved constructing a multiple regression model of recruitment success with two independent environmental variables: namely, the number of coastal `SST events' greater than 19°C, and an onshore retention index for the early life-history stages. The retention index was derived from a spatial time-series analysis of the SST images using principal components analysis. In general, pilchard recruitment showed a positive relationship with the `number of SST events' whilst anchovy recruitment had a negative relationship; 1987 was an outlier year, during which there were exceptionally high levels of both pilchard and anchovy recruitment. The multiple regression R2 values were high and significant for both species (pilchard R2 = 0.88, anchovy R2 = 0.96). The regression model also accounted for the 1987 outlier according to levels of onshore retention which, despite low inshore SSTs, were particularly high during the 1986/87 reproductive season. Although these results need to be validated with data from a longer time period, they show how satellite data might be used for predicting clupeoid recruitment success in the northern Benguela.
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Keywords: clupeoids; environment; northern Benguela; recruitment; remote sensing; spatial analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Marine Environment Unit, Space Applications Institute, Commission of the European Communities, Joint Research Centre, 1–21020 Ispra (Va), Italy

Publication date: 1999-03-01

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