Modelling larval dispersal dynamics of common sole (Solea solea) along the western Iberian coast

Tanner SE, Teles-Machado A, Martinho F, Peliz A, Cabral HN,
Progress in Oceanography 156 (2017) 7890,

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Individual-based coupled physical-biological models have become the standard tool for studying ichthyoplankton dynamics and assessing fish recruitment. Here, common sole (Solea solea L.), a flatfish of high commercial importance in Europe was used to evaluate transport of eggs and larvae and investigate the connectivity between spawning and nursery areas along the western Iberian coast as spatio-temporal variability in dispersal and recruitment patterns can result in very strong or weak year-classes causing large fluctuations in stock size. A three-dimensional particle tracking model coupled to Regional Ocean Modelling System model was used to investigate variability of sole larvae dispersal along the western Iberian coast over a five-year period (20042009). A sensitivity analysis evaluating: (1) the importance of diel vertical migrations of larvae and (2) the size of designated recruitment areas was performed. Results suggested that connectivity patterns of sole larvae dispersal and their spatio-temporal variability are influenced by the configuration of the coast with its topographical structures and thus the suitable recruitment area available as well as the wind-driven mesoscale circulation along the Iberian coast.