Effect of nursery habitat degradation on flatfish population: Application to Solea solea in the Eastern Channel (Western Europe)

Type Article
Date 2010-07
Language English
Author(s) Rochette S.ORCID1, Rivot Etienne1, Morin Jocelyne2, Mackinson S.3, Riou Philippe4, Le Pape Olivier1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Europeenne Bretagne, UMR Agrocampus OUEST 985, INRA Ecol & Sante Ecosyst, F-35042 Rennes, France.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Ressources Halieut, F-14520 Port En Bessin, France.
3 : CEFAS, Lowestoft Lab, Lowestoft NR33 OHT, Suffolk, England.
4 : IFREMER, Lab Environm Ressources Normandie, F-14520 Port En Bessin, France.
Meeting 7th International Symposium on Flatfish Ecology, Sesimbra, PORTUGAL, NOV 02-08, 2008
Source Journal Of Sea Research (1385-1101) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2010-07 , Vol. 64 , N. 1-2 , P. 34-44
DOI 10.1016/j.seares.2009.08.003
WOS© Times Cited 92
Keyword(s) Solea solea, Nursery, Habitat Mapping, Anthropogenic Disturbance, Seine Estuary, Recruitment
Abstract Estuaries and coastal waters are essential nursery habitats for many marine species, and especially for flatfishes. Thus, investigating how anthropogenic disturbances affect the quality of these habitats is of major importance to understand their consequences on the population renewal of marine species. The aim of the present study was to analyse the effects of estuarine habitat degradation on the population of the common sole in the Eastern Channel, a key species in the fish community and fisheries in this area. We especially focused on the drastic drop in the surface area and on the low water quality of the Seine estuary, the main river of the Eastern Channel. A geographic Information System (GIS) was used to develop quantitative maps of sole nursery habitats in the Eastern Channel by using a habitat suitability model based on bathymetry and sediment structure. This approach indicated that juvenile densities are low in the Seine estuary with regards to other nursery sectors. Then, thanks to historical maps of the Seine estuary, habitat suitability maps were built for key dates in the modifications of this estuary since 1850. This backward predictive approach suggests that habitat loss in the Seine estuary has led to a 42% decrease of its nursery capacity. As the density of juvenile sole in the Seine estuary is low in comparison to other sectors, this represents only a 3% loss at the sole population scale, in the Eastern Channel. However, when we assumed that prior to anthropogenic disturbance the juvenile density in the Seine estuary might have been equivalent to the current density of adjacent sectors with higher quality, the loss in abundance could be nearly 23% (8-36%). Results suggest that the loss in habitat surface combined with habitat degradation has led to an important loss in the contribution of the Seine estuary nursery to the whole sole population in the Eastern Channel. (C) 2009 Elsevier BM. All rights reserved.
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