Distribution and drift pathways of Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) during early life stages in the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
We describe the spatial distribution and dispersal pathways of Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) early life stages based on historical field data from the eastern Bering Sea and adjacent water along the eastern Aleutian Islands. Our results indicate that Greenland halibut from preflexion larvae to newly settled juveniles have a long pelagic duration and are subject to extended drift pathways. Hatching may occur in deep water, below 530 m, and larvae rise in the water column as they grow. Flexion/postflexion larvae are mostly found around the Pribilof Islands over the middle shelf (50–100-m isobaths) in July, and settling occurs during late summer on the middle shelf near St. Matthew Island. However, given that age-1 individuals were primarily found on the outer shelf, it appears that Greenland halibut actively move to deeper water with age (or size). The mechanisms of slope–shelf connectivity in preflexion larvae may be related to the Bering Slope Current in the vicinity of both Bering and Pribilof Canyons. This study shows that Greenland halibut early life stages have extensive horizontal ontogenetic migrations in the Bering Sea, and utilize a range of geographic areas over the basin and slope along the Aleutian Islands and in the eastern Bering Sea. Based on these results, it is hypothesized that settlement success and recruitment of Greenland halibut may be influenced by variability in currents and flows of the Bering Sea slope and shelf during their transport.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA 2: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-6349, USA
Publication date: September 1, 2010