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Remotely sensed spawning habitat of Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) and Northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax) within the California Current

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We use trivariate kernel density estimation to define spawning habitat of northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax) and Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) in the California Current using satellite data and in situ egg samples from the Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES) deployed during surveys in April by the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI). Observed egg distributions were compared with monthly composite satellite sea surface temperature (SST) and surface chlorophyll a (chl a) data. Based on the preferred spawning habitat, as defined in SST and chl a space, the satellite data were used to predict potential spawning habitat along two areas of the west coast of North America. Data from the southern area (21.5 to 39°N) were compared to observations from the CUFES data for the period 1998–2005. Northern anchovy and Pacific sardine exhibited distinctly different spawning habitat distributions. A significant relationship was found between satellite-based spawning area and that measured during surveys for sardine. CUFES area estimated for sardine was similar in magnitude to that estimated from satellite data (∼60 000 km2). In contrast, spawning habitat of anchovy averaged between 1000 and 200 000 km2 for the period 1998–2005, for CUFES and satellite estimates, respectively. Interannual variability in the area (km2) and duration (months) of estimates of suitable habitat varied between species and between the northern (39 to 50.5°N) and southern portions of the California Current. Long-term monitoring of habitat variability using remote sensing data is possible in the southern portion of the California Current, and could be improved upon in the northern area with the addition of surveys better timed to describe relationships between observed and estimated spawning habitats.
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Keywords: California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations; California Current; Pacific sardine; Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor; northern anchovy; remotely sensed; sea surface temperature; spawning habitat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Integrative Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0218, USA 2: Environmental Research Division, NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 1352 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove, CA 93950-2097, USA

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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