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Schooling and migration of large pelagic fishes relative to environmental cues

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A kinesis model driven by high-resolution sea surface temperature maps is used to simulate Atlantic bluefin tuna movements in the Gulf of Maine during summer months. Simulations showed that individuals concentrated in areas of thermal preference. Results are compared to empirical distribution maps of bluefin tuna schools determined from aerial overflights of the stock during the same time periods. Simulations and empirical observations showed similar bluefin tuna distributions along fronts, although interannual variations in temperature ranges occupied suggest that additional foraging factors are involved. Performance of the model is further tested by simulating the relatively large-scale annual north–south migrations of bluefin tuna that followed a preferred thermal regime. Despite the model’s relatively simple structure, results suggest that kinesis is an effective mechanism for describing movements of large pelagic fish in the expansive ocean environment.

Keywords: Atlantic bluefin tuna; kinesis; migration; spatial model

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA 2: New England Aquarium, Edgerton Research Laboratory, Central Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2000


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