Publication details.


Author(s):E. Schismenou, M. Palmer, M. Giannoulaki, I. Alvarez, K. Tsiaras, G. Triantafyllou, S. Somarakis
Title:Seasonal changes in otolith increment width trajectories and the effect of temperature on the daily growth rate of young sardines
JCR Impact Factor:1.578
Issue No.:4
Abstract:We studied the otolith microstructure and growth of sardine, Sardina pilchardus, in the North Aegean Sea (eastern Mediterranean Sea), using samples of larvae and juveniles that had hatched in winter (November–January) and winter–spring (February–May), respectively. The juveniles had developed during an extended period coinciding with marked pelagic ecosystem changes (from winter, mixed conditions to summer, stratified waters). To examine the relationship between environmental changes and the observed variability in their otolith increment–width trajectories (width-at-age), we summarized the shape of trajectories with a four-parameter set estimated from a growth model fit to each width trajectory. The individual parameter sets were then related to the potential oceanographic conditions that fish experienced during their development, derived from a hydrodynamic–biogeochemical model (POM-ERSEM), implemented in the sampling area. Substantial seasonal effects were demonstrated on the otolith microstructure (platykurtic versus leptokurtic trajectories in winter-mixed versus summer-stratified conditions), which were related to the progressive sea surface warming. In a subsequent step, in order to study the effect of oceanographic conditions on larval and juvenile daily growth rates, a GAM (Generalized Additive Model) analysis of otolith increment widths was carried out, using model-derived oceanographic parameters and taking into account the ‘inherent otolith growth’, expressed by the explanatory variables ‘previous increment width’ and ‘Age’. Results showed a strong and positive, linear effect of temperature on the growth rate of winter-caught larvae, whereas in juveniles, which had developed within a wide range of temperatures, an optimum temperature for growth was observed at around 24°C.

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