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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Laurel, B.J., C.H. Ryer, B. Knoth, A.W. Stoner. 2009. Temporal and ontogenetic shifts in habitat use of juvenile Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 377:28-35.


Habitat use of age-0 and age-1 juvenile Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) was examined in coastal regions in Kodiak Alaska over daily, seasonal and annual scales. Catch data indicated highly variable recruitment to nursery areas, but a strong separation of distribution by depth among age groups. Age-0 cod were most abundant in the shallows (<3 m) whereas age-1 cod were typically found in depths (9.0–13.5 m). In comparison, age-1 saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis), another highly abundant gadid in the region, were found in shallower depths where age-0 cod often resided. Age-1 cod Pacific cod made diel lateral movements, moving into shallow regions at night where they co-occurred with age-0 cod to a greater extent. Laboratory light-gradient experiments indicated that age-0 cod tolerated intense lighting (~ 20–80 µE m− 2 s− 1) typical of shallow water regions whereas larger age-1 Pacific cod strongly avoid bright light given the choice. However, while diet data indicate age-1 cod of both species are moderately piscivorous (3% saffron cod; 16% Pacific cod), we found no direct evidence of predation on smaller conspecific cod, possibly due to the low densities of age-0 cod in the year of the diet study. Together, these data suggest that coastal regions continue to serve a nursery function beyond the 1st year of development for juvenile Pacific gadids, and that small-scale temporal and depth partitioning in these regions is a mechanism by which varying cod species and age classes co-occur.



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