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`Ocean triads' in the Mediterranean Sea: physical mechanisms potentially structuring reproductive habitat suitability (with example application to European anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus)

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Summaries of maritime weather reports and mean seasonal satellite-sensed ocean colour distributions for the Mediterranean Sea are used to identify characteristic configurations of physical mechanisms promoting (i) nutrient enrichment, (ii) concentration of larval food distributions, and (iii) local retention of eggs and larvae. Five subbasin scale `ocean triads', hypothesized to be particularly favourable groupings, are identified in the Aegean Sea, the Gulf of Lions and nearby Catalan Coast, the Alboran Sea, the Straits of Sicily/Tunisian Coast, and the Adriatic Sea. These are examined in relation to available knowledge of anchovy spawning grounds. All areas are characterized by patterns of linked wind-driven Ekman upwelling and downwelling. All areas except the Straits of Sicily are found to have inputs of less saline surface waters offering raised nutrient concentrations, enhanced upper layer stability, and frontal density contrasts, and to have areas where the characteristic rate of turbulent mixing energy input by the wind fall below a reference intensity level. All areas, except the Sicilian Channel/Tunisian Coast, also contain abundant locally reproducing anchovy populations.
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Keywords: COADS; Engraulis encrasicolus; Mediterranean; environment anchovy; ocean triads; reproductive habitat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Marine Fishery Resources Service, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, Italy

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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