Interranual variability in horizontal patterns of larval fish assemblages in the northeastern Aegean Sea (eastern Mediterranean) during early summer

Stamatina Isari*, Nina Fragopoulu, Stylianos Somarakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Larval fish community structure was studied in the northeastern Aegean Sea (NEA) over an area influenced by the advection of Black Sea water (BSW). Sampling was carried out in early summer during a period of 4 years (2003-2006). Taxonomic composition and abundance presented high variability in space that remained relatively constant among years. Tow depth and indicators of trophic conditions in the upper water column (i.e., zooplankton displacement volume, fluorescence) explained significantly the structure of larval assemblages during all surveys. The northern continental shelf (Thracian and Strymonikos shelf), where a large amount of enriched, low salinity BSW is retained, was dominated by larvae of epipelagic species, mainly anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus). Interannual changes in horizontal extension of the BSW seemed to match closely observed changes in the distribution of anchovy larvae. Mesopelagic fish larvae were particularly abundant beyond the continental shelf (over the North Aegean Trough) where a strong frontal structure is created between the low salinity waters of BSW origin and the high salinity waters of the Aegean Sea. Larvae of certain mesopelagic species (e.g., Ceratoscopelus maderensis) may occasionally be transported inshore when the prevailing current meanders towards the coast or feeds anticyclonic gyres over the continental shelf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-619
Number of pages13
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 30 2008

Keywords

  • Greece
  • community composition
  • continental shelves
  • eastern Mediterranean
  • fish larvae
  • horizontal distribution
  • ichthyoplankton
  • northeastern Aegean Sea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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