Growth and production of Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) in nursery habitats of the Gulf of Alaska

Rooper, CN, Boldt, JL, Batten, SD and Gburski, C 2012 Growth and production of Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) in nursery habitats of the Gulf of Alaska. Fisheries Oceanography, 21 (6). 415-429.

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Nursery areas for juvenile fishes are often important for determining recruitment in marine populations by providing habitats that can maximize growth and thereby minimize mortality. Pacific ocean perch (POP, Sebastes alutus) have an extended juvenile period where they inhabit rocky nursery habitats. We examined POP nursery areas to link growth potential to recruitment. Juvenile POP were captured from nursery areas in 2004 and 2008, and estimated growth rates ranged from −0.19 to 0.60 g day−1 based on differences in size between June and August. Predicted growth rates from a bioenergetics model ranged from 0.05 to 0.49 g day−1 and were not significantly different than observed. Substrate preferences and the distribution of their preferred habitats were utilized to predict the extent of juvenile POP nursery habitat in the Gulf of Alaska. Based on densities of fish observed on underwater video transects and the spatial extent of nursery areas, we predicted 278 and 290 million juvenile POP were produced in 2004 and 2008. Growth potential for juvenile POP was reconstructed using the bioenergetics model, spring zooplankton bloom timing and duration and bottom water temperature for 1982–2008. When a single outlying recruitment year in 1986 was removed, growth potential experienced by juvenile POP in nursery areas was significantly correlated to the recruitment time-series from the stock assessment, explaining ∼30% of the variability. This research highlights the potential to predict recruitment using habitat-based methods and provides a potential mechanism for explaining some of the POP recruitment variability observed for this population.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Alaska;bioenergetics model;growth;habitat;recruitment;Sebastes
Divisions: Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:11

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