Mesoscale physical processes and the distribution and composition of ichthyoplankton on the southern Brazilian shelf break

  • Franco B
  • Muelbert J
  • Mata M
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Abstract

The southern Brazilian shelf supports the largest fish stocks in the country, and studies on physical–biolo- gical processes in the ecology of ichthyoplankton have been recommended to provide a better understanding of the variability of the recruitment of fishing resources. This study is the first to examine the influ- ence of mesoscale physical processes on the distribu- tion of early life stages of fish in this shelf-break region. Collections of fish eggs and larvae and measurements of temperature and salinity were made at 13 stations along cross-shelf transects in December 1997. Mycto- phidae, Bregmacerotidae, Clupeidae, Synodontidae and Engraulidae were the most abundant larvae in the northern region, while Engraulidae and Bregmacerot- idae prevailed further south. In situ hydrographic data, NOAA/AVHRR images and merged TOPEX/POSEI- DON + ERS-1/2 satellite altimetry taken during the cruise revealed an anticyclonic eddy dominating the shelf around 31S. Larval fish abundance was lower at the centre of this feature, suggesting that the eddy advected poorer offshore waters of tropical origin towards the inner shelf-concentrating the larvae around the eddy

Author-supplied keywords

  • Brazil Current
  • Eddies
  • Ichthyoplankton
  • Mesoscale processes
  • Satellite altimetry
  • Sea-surface temperature
  • Shelf break
  • South-western Atlantic

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