Wind Speed and Mortality Rate of a Marine Fish, the Northern Anchovy (Engraulis mordax)

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Science  16 Jan 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4786, pp. 354-356
DOI: 10.1126/science.235.4786.354


Large variability in recruitment of marine fishes creates challenging management problems. In northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), there is a significant linear relation between larval mortality rate and the frequency of calm, low wind speed periods during the spawning season, possibly because calm winds permit maintenance of concentrated patches of larval food. Neither cannibalism on larvae nor offshore transport contributed significantly to interannual variation in early larval mortality. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that wind-driven turbulent mixing affects variability in survival of young fish larvae. However, abundance of recruits does not necessarily reflect abundance of larvae surviving through this early stage.