Modelling larval dispersal of the king scallop (Pecten maximus) in the English Channel: examples from the bay of Saint-Brieuc and the bay of Seine

The king scallop (Pecten maximus) is one of the most important benthic species of the English Channel as it constitutes the first fishery in terms of landings in this area. To support strategies of spatial fishery management, we develop a high-resolution biophysical model to study scallop dispersal in two bays along the French coasts of the English Channel (i.e. the bay of Saint-Brieuc and the bay of Seine) and to quantify the relative roles of local hydrodynamic processes, temperature-dependent planktonic larval duration (PLD) and active swimming behaviour (SB). The two bays are chosen for three reasons: (1) the distribution of the scallop stocks in these areas is well known from annual scallop stock surveys, (2) these two bays harbour important fisheries and (3) scallops in these two areas present some differences in terms of reproductive cycle and spawning duration. The English Channel currents and temperature are simulated for 10 years (2000-2010) with the MARS-3D code and then used by the Lagrangian module of MARS-3D to model the transport. Results were analysed in terms of larval distribution at settlement and connectivity rates. While larval transport in the two bays depended both on the tidal residual circulation and the wind-induced currents, the relative role of these two hydrodynamic processes varied among bays. In the bay of Saint-Brieuc, the main patterns of larval dispersal were due to tides, the wind being only a source of variability in the extent of larval patch and the local retention rate. Conversely, in the bay of Seine, wind-induced currents altered both the direction and the extent of larval transport. The main effect of a variable PLD in relation to the thermal history of each larva was to reduce the spread of dispersal and consequently increase the local retention by about 10 % on average. Although swimming behaviour could influence larval dispersal during the first days of the PLD when larvae are mainly located in surface waters, it has a minor role on larval distribution at settlement and retention rates. The analysis of the connectivity between subpopulations within each bay allows identifying the main sources of larvae which depend on both the characteristics of local hydrodynamics and the spatial heterogeneity in the reproductive outputs.


King scallop, English Channel, Numerical model, Lagrangian transport, Planktonic larval duration, Swimming behaviour

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Nicolle Amandine, Dumas Franck, Foveau Aurelie, Foucher Eric, Thiebaut Eric (2013). Modelling larval dispersal of the king scallop (Pecten maximus) in the English Channel: examples from the bay of Saint-Brieuc and the bay of Seine. Ocean Dynamics. 63 (6). 661-678.,

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