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A synthesis of biological and physical processes affecting the feeding environment of larval walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in the eastern Bering Sea

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Biological and physical phenomena that affect conditions for larval survival and eventual recruitment differ in the oceanic and shelf regions. In the oceanic region, eddies are a common feature. While their genesis is not well known, eddies have unique biophysical characteristics and occur with such regularity that they likely affect larval survival. High concentrations of larval pollock often are associated with eddies. Some eddies are transported onto the shelf, thereby providing larvae to the Outer Shelf Domain. Advection, rather than local production, dominated the observed springtime increase in chlorophyll (often a correlate of larval food) in the oceanic region. Over two-thirds of the south-eastern shelf, eddies are absent and other phenomena are important. Sea ice is a feature of the shelf region: its interannual variability (time of arrival, persistence, and areal extent) affects developmental rate of larvae, timing of the phytoplankton bloom (and potentially the match/mismatch of larvae and prey), and abundance and distribution of juvenile pollock. In the oceanic region, interannual variation in food for first-feeding pollock larvae is determined by advection; in the shelf region, it is the coupled dynamics of the atmosphere–ice–ocean system.
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Keywords: Bering Sea; circulation; fisheries oceanography; larval feeding; larval fish survival

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA 98115, USA 2: Present Address: Two Crow Environmental Consultants, Silver City, NM 88062, USA

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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