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Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) vertical movements in the Azores Islands determined with pop-up satellite archival tags

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Movement patterns of 17 bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) near the Azores Islands were analyzed between April and May 2001 and 2002 using pop-up satellite archival tags. Despite short attachment durations (1 to 21 days, 8.2 days on average), their vertical movements revealed much shallower distribution of bigeye tuna in comparison with previous studies in the tropical Pacific and tropical Atlantic. Depth and temperature histograms were unimodal, although overall depth distribution during the day was deeper than during the night due to daily incursions in deeper waters. Although generalized additive models showed significant non-linear relationships with weight of the fish and sea level anomaly (as a proxy for variability of thermocline depth), the effect of these variables on bigeye depth appeared minor, suggesting that vertical movements of bigeye in the Azores during the spring migration may be influenced by food availability in upper water layers.

Keywords: Thunnus obesus; behaviour; bigeye tuna; environment; pop-up satellite tag

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2419.2008.00464.x

Affiliations: 1: Universidade dos Açores, Departamento de Oceanografía e Pescas, 9900 Horta, Portugal 2: Large Pelagics Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA 3: AZTI Tecnalia, Herrera Kaia Portualdea z/g, 20110 Pasaia, Gipuzkoa, Spain 4: AZTI Tecnalia, Txatxarramendi Ugartea z/g, 48395 Sukarrieta, Bizkaia, Spain

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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