The mechanism of retention of pelagic tomcod, Microgadus tomcod , larvae and juveniles in the well-mixed part of the St. Lawrence Estuary
Synopsis: We tested the hypothesis that the mechanism of retention of tomcod, Microgadus tomcod, larvae and juveniles in the well-mixed part of the St. Lawrence Estuary is similar to that of sympatric smelt, Osmerus mordax, larvae who actively migrate to the surface during flood tides and to the bottom during ebb tides so as to minimize net downstream displacement. The vertical distribution of tomcod larvae and juveniles was documented during two 98-h sampling series at 2 anchor stations in June and July, 1986. An hourly index of the center of mass of fish in the water column calculated to take into account daytime net avoidance in surface waters suggested that tomcod remained deep in the water column and that their accumulation at the head of the estuary was the result of passive upstream transport by net residual circulation rather than active tidal migrations. For both series, depth of fish was inversely related to density of the water suggesting that the buoyancy of fish influenced their vertical distribution. Tomcod larvae and juveniles were advected by tidal currents. In June, larger larvae were found at low slack water indicating that they were located upstream of smaller larvae. In July, larger juveniles were located downstream of smaller juveniles, the difference in mean length between low and high slack water attaining 20 mm. Ontogenetic buoyancy changes may be responsible for these differences in the vertical distribution of tomcod. Comparisons of the early life-history stages of tomcod and smelt retained in the same area under the same hydrodynamical conditions indicate that more than one mechanism permits retention in a well-mixed estuary and that the observed species-specific patterns of vertical distribution are not simply interpretable as adaptations to retention.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - genetique des eucaryotes. evolution biologique et moleculaire
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics