One-dimensional biophysical modelling of fish egg vertical distributions in shelf seas

Modelling the vertical distribution of fish eggs is important when assessing fish stocks with egg production methods and for monitoring the reproductive potential of fish populations. Fish eggs are passive particles and their vertical distribution is determined by a few parameters such as egg density, egg diameter, wind- and tide-induced turbulence, and vertical hydrographic structure. A one-dimensional vertical biophysical, numerical model was developed which was adapted to the hydrography of shelf seas under the influence of tidal currents, wind-induced circulation, and river discharges. The biological part of the model parameterized the ascent velocity of the egg as a function of egg properties (diameter, density) and water properties (density, viscosity, turbulence). The model contains a turbulence closure which makes the model dynamic. The model parameters were surface wind, tidal currents, T-S profile, and egg diameter and density, which were kept constant in time. The model has the capacity to generate sub-surface egg maxima in different hydrographic conditions, e.g. in areas under the influence of river plumes, and can also homogenize the egg distribution under wind and tide forcing. Sensitivity tests were carried out to study the response of the model to variations in the model parameters for a variety of hydrographic conditions. The modelled egg vertical distributions were validated by comparison of the model results with egg distributions sampled in the field. The analysis highlighted variability in fish egg density of anchovy, sardine, and sprat across years and areas, with a potential link between egg density and surface sea water density. The validated model is a tool for the analysis of shelf seas fish egg vertical distributions.


Vertical distribution, Sprat, Sardine, Fish egg buoyancy, CUFES, Biophysical coupling, Anchovy

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Petitgas Pierre, Magri Hoeltzener Stephanie, Lazure Pascal (2006). One-dimensional biophysical modelling of fish egg vertical distributions in shelf seas. Fisheries Oceanography. 15 (5). 413-428.,

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