Reproductive capacity can influence distribution and abundance over large spatial scales through larval dispersal, even when adult stages remain isolated following settlement. We examined size distribution, reproductive traits and age structure in Scotia Sea icefish, Chaenocephalus aceratus, an abundant benthic species with a long larval pelagic phase found on continental shelves along the Southern Scotia Ridge. In particular, we compared life history strategies between fish caught during surveys undertaken off the South Orkney Islands (SOI) and South Shetland Islands (SSI). Results corroborated regional separation after settlement and suggested distinct life history strategies, in which fish from SOI invested much less in reproduction, and somewhat more in somatic growth earlier in their life history. Compared to SSI, body weight increased faster with length and absolute fecundity was 46 % lower and increased more slowly with size for SOI population. In addition, the proportion of spawning cohorts and L∞ was lower and k higher for SOI. The differences appeared to be a phenotypic response to environmental conditions related to regional hydrography. Lower reproductive capacity around the SOI, and strong eastward flow in the large-scale circulation, suggests that the SSI may be more important in influencing distributions and abundance of icefish along the Southern Scotia Ridge.

Life history strategies of the Scotia Sea icefish, Chaenocephalus aceratus, along the Southern Scotia Ridge

RIGINELLA, EMILIO;MAZZOLDI, CARLOTTA;
2016

Abstract

Reproductive capacity can influence distribution and abundance over large spatial scales through larval dispersal, even when adult stages remain isolated following settlement. We examined size distribution, reproductive traits and age structure in Scotia Sea icefish, Chaenocephalus aceratus, an abundant benthic species with a long larval pelagic phase found on continental shelves along the Southern Scotia Ridge. In particular, we compared life history strategies between fish caught during surveys undertaken off the South Orkney Islands (SOI) and South Shetland Islands (SSI). Results corroborated regional separation after settlement and suggested distinct life history strategies, in which fish from SOI invested much less in reproduction, and somewhat more in somatic growth earlier in their life history. Compared to SSI, body weight increased faster with length and absolute fecundity was 46 % lower and increased more slowly with size for SOI population. In addition, the proportion of spawning cohorts and L∞ was lower and k higher for SOI. The differences appeared to be a phenotypic response to environmental conditions related to regional hydrography. Lower reproductive capacity around the SOI, and strong eastward flow in the large-scale circulation, suggests that the SSI may be more important in influencing distributions and abundance of icefish along the Southern Scotia Ridge.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3169117
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