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Recruitment variability in Baltic Sea sprat (Sprattus sprattus) is tightly coupled to temperature and transport patterns affecting the larval and early juvenile stages

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Recruitment patterns of Baltic Sea sprat (Sprattus sprattus) were correlated to time series of (i) month- and depth-specific temperature conditions and (ii) larval drift patterns inferred from long-term Lagrangian particle simulations. From the latter, we derived an index that likely reflected the variable degree of annual larval transport from the central, deep spawning basins to the shallow coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. The drift index was significantly (P < 0.001) correlated to sprat recruitment success and explained, together with sprat spawning stock biomass, 82% of the overall variability between 1979 and 2003. Years of strong larval displacement towards southern and eastern Baltic coasts corresponded to relative recruitment failure, while years of retention within the deep basins were associated with relative recruitment success. The strongest correlation between temperature and recruitment occurred during August in surface waters, explaining 73% of the overall variability. Together, the two approaches advocate that new year classes of Baltic sprat are predominantly composed of individuals born late in the season and are determined in strength mainly by processes acting during the late larval and early juvenile stages. However, prior to be included in recruitment predictions, the biological mechanisms underlying these strong correlations may need to be better resolved.

Nous avons mis en corrélation les patrons de recrutement du sprat (Sprattus sprattus) de la Baltique avec des séries chronologiques (i) de conditions de température en fonction du mois et de la profondeur et (ii) de patrons de dérive des larves obtenus à partir de simulations de Lagrange à long terme de particules. D'après ces simulations, nous avons élaboré un indice qui représente vraisemblablement le degré variable de transport annuel des larves depuis les bassins de fraye centraux et profonds vers les zones côtières peu profondes de la Baltique. L'indice de dérive est en corrélation significative (P < 0,001) avec le succès du recrutement du sprat; combiné à la biomasse du stock reproducteur du sprat, il explique 82 % de la variabilité globale entre 1979 et 2003. Les années de fort déplacement des larves vers les côtes du sud et de l'est de la Baltique correspondent à des insuccès relatifs du recrutement, alors que les années de rétention dans les bassins profonds sont associées à un succès relatif du recrutement. La corrélation la plus forte entre la température et le recrutement s'observe en août dans les eaux superficielles, ce qui explique 73 % de la variabilité globale. Ensemble, les deux approches indiquent que les nouvelles classes d'âge annuelles des sprats de la Baltique se composent principalement d'individus nés tard dans la saison et que la force des classes est déterminée par des processus qui agissent à la fin de la vie larvaire et durant les stades juvéniles. Cependant, il faut mieux élucider les mécanismes sous-jacents à ces fortes corrélations avant de les inclure dans les prédictions du recrutement.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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