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Geographic patterns in the demersal ichthyofauna of the Aleutian Islands

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The goals of this research were to investigate geographic patterns in the Aleutian Island region's demersal ichthyofauna and to determine whether they reflected the physical and biological oceanographic patterns documented by other authors in this volume. The analyses were structured according to the level of organization: at the community level, patterns in species occurrence and community structure were investigated; at the population level, distribution and abundance were examined; at the individual level, food habits and growth were studied. There were step-changes in species occurrence, diversity, population distribution and food habits at Samalga Pass and at sites farther west. These longitudinal trends indicated physical and biological variation along the length of the Aleutian Islands chain; however, depth-related patterns were as common as longitudinal patterns in demersal fish distribution. In addition, high catches of patchily distributed species occurred in areas expected to be biological ‘hot spots’ because of increased productivity and prey availability. These patterns suggest linkages between demersal fish ecology and the biophysical processes described by other authors in this volume and indicate that inter-disciplinary research is needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

Keywords: Aleutian Islands; cluster analysis; demersal fish; distribution; food habits; geographic patterns; groundfish; growth; species diversity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Alaska Fisheries Science Centre, 7600 Sand Point Way, Seattle, WA 98115, USA 2: School of Aquatic and Fisheries Science, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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