Patterns of larval source distribution and mixing in early life stages of Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in the southeastern Bering Sea
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Patterns of larval source distribution and mixing in early life stages of Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in the southeastern Bering Sea

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  • Journal Title:
    Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
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  • Description:
    Effective and sustainable management depends on knowledge of spawning locations and their relative contributions to marine fish populations. Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in the southeastern Bering Sea aggregate at discrete spawning locations but there is little information on patterns of larval dispersal and the relative contribution of specific spawning areas to nursery habitats. Age-0 Pacific cod from two cohorts (2006 and 2008) were examined to address the following questions: (1) does size, age, and otolith chemistry vary among known capture locations; (2) can variation in elemental composition of the otolith cores (early larval signatures) be used to infer the number of chemically distinct sources contributing to juvenile recruits in the Bering Sea; and (3) to what extent are juvenile collection locations represented by groups of fish with similar chemical histories throughout their early life history? Hierarchical cluster (HCA) and discriminant function analyses (DFA) were used to examine variation in otolith chemistry at discrete periods throughout the early life history. HCA identified five chemically distinct groups of larvae in the 2006 cohort and three groups in 2008; however, three sources accounted for 80–100% of the juveniles in each year. DFA of early larval signatures indicated that there were non-random spatial distributions of early larvae in both years, which may reflect interannual variation in regional oceanography. There was also a detectable and substantial level of coherence in chemical signatures within groups of fish throughout the early life history. The variation in elemental signatures throughout the early life history (hatch to capture) indicates that otolith chemical analysis could be an effective tool to further clarify larval sources and dispersal, identify juvenile nursery habitats, and estimate the contributions of juvenile nursery habitats to the adult population within the southeastern Bering Sea.
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    Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 134, 270-282
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  • ISSN:
    0967-0645
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    Accepted Manuscript
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    Library
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