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The influence of environment and spawning distribution on the survival of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) larvae in the Bay of Biscay (NE Atlantic) investigated by biophysical simulations

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A growth and survival model of the early life stages was run along virtual drift trajectories tracked in a hydrodynamic model to simulate the annual recruitment process of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the Bay of Biscay (NE Atlantic). These biophysical simulations concerning three different years were analysed in order to investigate the influence of environment and spawning dynamics on the survival of larvae and juveniles. The location of space–time survival windows suggested major environmental mechanisms involved in simulated recruitment variability at the different scales – retention of larvae and juveniles in favourable habitats over the shelf margins and turbulence effects. These small-scale and meso-scale mechanisms were related to the variations in wind direction and intensity during spring and summer. Survival was also variable according to the origin of the drift trajectories, that is spawning distribution in space and time. The observed spawning distribution (according to field surveys) was compared with the spawning distribution that would maximize survival (according to the biophysical model) on a seasonal scale, which revealed factors not considered in the biophysical model (e.g. spawning behaviour of the different age classes). The variation of simulated survival according to spawning distribution was examined on a multi-annual scale and showed a coherent pattern with past and present stock structures. The interaction processes between the population (influence on spawning) and its environment (influence on survival) and its implications on recruitment and stock dynamics are discussed.
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Keywords: Biscay; IBM; anchovy; larval survival; physical–biological interactions; recruitment; retention; turbulence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: IFREMER, BP 21105, F- 44311 cedex 03, Nantes, France 2: IFREMER, BP 70, F- 29280, Plouzané, France

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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