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Immigration and early life stages recruitment of the European flounder (Platichthys flesus) to an estuarine nursery: the influence of environmental factors

Amorim, Eva; Elliott, Michael; Ramos, Sandra; Bordalo, Adriano A.

Authors

Eva Amorim

Professor Mike Elliott Mike.Elliott@hull.ac.uk
Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies

Sandra Ramos

Adriano A. Bordalo



Abstract

Connectivity between coastal spawning grounds and estuarine nurseries is a critical step in the life cycle of many fish species. Larval immigration and transport-associated physical–biological processes are determinants of recruitment success to nursery areas. The recruitment of the European flounder, Platichthys flesus, to estuarine nurseries located at the southern edge of the species distribution range, has been usually investigated during its juvenile stages, while estuarine recruitment during the earlier planktonic life stage remains largely unstudied. The present study investigated the patterns of flounder larval recruitment and the influence of environmental factors on the immigration of the early life stages to the Lima estuary (NW Portugal), integrating data on fish larvae and post-settlement individuals (< 50 mm length), collected over 7 years. Late-stage larvae arrived at the estuary between February and July and peak abundances were observed in April. Post-settlement individuals (< 50 mm) occurred later between April and October, whereas newly-settled ones (< 20 mm) were found only in May and June. Variables associated with the spawning, survival and growth of larvae in the ocean (sea surface temperature, chlorophyll a and inland hydrological variables) were the major drivers of flounder occurrence in the estuarine nursery. Although the adjacent coastal area is characterized by a current system with strong seasonality and mesoscale variability, we did not identify any influence of variables related with physical processes (currents and upwelling) on the occurrence of early life stages in the estuary. A wider knowledge on the influence of the coastal circulation variability and its associated effects upon ocean-estuarine connectivity is required to improve our understanding of the population dynamics of marine spawning fish that use estuarine nurseries.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2016-01
Journal Journal of sea research
Print ISSN 1385-1101
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 107
Issue 1
Pages 56-66
APA6 Citation Amorim, E., Elliott, M., Ramos, S., & Bordalo, A. A. (2016). Immigration and early life stages recruitment of the European flounder (Platichthys flesus) to an estuarine nursery: the influence of environmental factors. Journal of Sea Research, 107(1), 56-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2015.07.005
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2015.07.005
Keywords Platichthys flesus, Estuarine recruitment, Larvae, Juveniles, Physical-biological processes
Publisher URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385110115300289
Copyright Statement © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Journal of sea research, 2016, v.107, part 1

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Copyright Statement
© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/





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