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Patterns of larval emergence of capelin (Mallotus villosus) and environmental cues at demersal spawning sites on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland

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At spawning beaches in Newfoundland, Canada, capelin (Mallotus villosus) larval emergence is triggered by coastal water mass replacement (CWMR). CWMR causes sharp but short increases in temperature in coastal areas by the transport of warm surface water to the coast during onshore wind events. Warm water temperatures stimulate the active emergence of capelin larvae into predator-poor and prey-rich conditions favourable for larval survival. We investigated whether wind events influenced (i) the thermal properties of the water column and (ii) the larval emergence patterns at five demersal (deep-water) spawning sites on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland during the posthatch periods in 2004–2006. Winds oriented along the shore caused frequent and sharp increases in bottom temperature at all sites but did not appear to stimulate the release of larvae into the water column. Instead, peaks in larval densities corresponded to predicted peaks in hatching. Because of this and the presence of recently hatched larvae (3–5mm) primarily in good condition, we hypothesize that larvae simply emerged from the sediment upon hatching at these demersal spawning sites. We conclude that patterns of larval emergence at demersal sites in this region are different from those reported for the beach in other regions of Newfoundland.

Sur les plages de fraie à Terre-Neuve, Canada, l’émergence des larves de capelan (Mallotus villosus) est déclenchée par le remplacement des masses d’eau côtières (CWMR). Le CWMR cause des accroissements nets, mais de courte durée, de la température dans les régions côtières à cause de l’apport d’eau de surface chaude vers la côte durant des épisodes de vents soufflant vers la rive. Les températures chaudes de l’eau stimulent une émergence active des larves de capelans dans des conditions favorables à la survie des larves avec peu de prédateurs et beaucoup de proies. Nous avons recherché si les événements de vents influencent (i) les propriétés thermiques de la colonne d’eau et (ii) les patrons d’émergence des larves à cinq sites démersaux (en eau profonde) de fraie sur la côte nord-est de Terre-Neuve durant la période qui suit l’éclosion, en 2004–2006. Les vents dirigés le long de la rive produisent des augmentations fréquentes et marquées de la température du fond à tous les sites, mais ils ne semblent pas stimuler la libération des larves dans la colonne d’eau. Au contraire, les maximums des densités larvaires correspondent aux pics prédits dans l’éclosion. En conséquence et à cause de la présence de larves (3–5 mm) récemment écloses généralement en bon état, nous posons l’hypothèse selon laquelle, dans ces sites démersaux de fraie, les larves sortent simplement des sédiments à l’éclosion. Nous concluons que les patrons d’émergence larvaire aux sites démersaux dans cette région sont différents de ceux signalés sur les plages des autres régions de Terre-Neuve.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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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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