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Patchiness structure and mortality of Pacific saury Cololabis saira larvae in the northwestern Pacific

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Patchiness structure and mortality rates of Pacific saury Cololabis saira larvae were estimated in the frontal area of the Kuroshio Extension in spring 2000 and 2001. Drogued GPS buoys, which were used as Lagrangian reference points, were deployed to mark dense patches of saury larvae and a series of samplings was conducted using a neuston net around the buoys during the night over a period of several days. A total of 225 tows were conducted and 11 690 specimens were sampled during four buoy tracking. Despite the occurrence of water diffusion, patchiness density, distance between adjacent patches and patch size estimated by geostatistical analysis did not drastically change during the buoy tracking and these parameters were robust for the difference of variogram models and the threshold larval density defining patchiness. Such a stability of the patchiness allowed the estimation of larval mortality from the decrease of larval density for different size classes with respect to individual growth based on the samples taken repeatedly during the buoy tracking. Although low or negative values were obtained for the larvae right after hatching, probably due to continuous hatching, the estimates of mortality then increased and became stable in the range of 23–37% day−1 with a small standard deviation until their knob length reached to 36 mm. In situ information on the patchiness structure and larval mortality provides crucial parameters for simulating the recruitment process of small pelagic fishes in high-resolution hydrodynamic models.
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Keywords: Kuroshio Extension; Pacific saury; larvae; natural mortality; patchiness structure

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fisheries Research Agency, 2-12-4 Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-8648, Japan 2: National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, Fisheries Research Agency, 2-12-4 Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-8648, Japan

Publication date: 01 September 2009

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