Pre- and Post-settlement Processes of Northern Rock Sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra) in Relation to Interannual Variability in Temperature and Productivity in the Gulf of Alaska Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gx41mm74h

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  • Understanding the effects of climate variability on growth dynamics and timing of early life history events in marine fishes can provide insights into survival, recruitment and productivity. Field collections (2005, 2007, 2009-2011) were combined with otolith microstructural analysis to examine interannual variation in larval and juvenile growth rates, size at hatch and metamorphosis, and the timing of metamorphosis of northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra) collected in two nurseries at Kodiak Island, Alaska, USA. Variation in early life characteristics was quantified and related to phytoplankton production, temperature and juvenile densities in nursery grounds. In addition, monthly sampling of juvenile northern rock sole during the initial post-settlement period (July to August) was used to determine if carry-over effects of size and growth occurred across life history stages. Finally, individual growth trajectories of July and August fish were compared for evidence of selective mortality during the initial post-settlement period. Overall, timing of metamorphosis varied across years and was related to annual and interannual variation in water temperature. Conversely, fish size at metamorphosis was similar across years, suggesting that the competency to metamorphose is related to a minimum size and ontogenetic stage. Post-settlement growth was related to temperatures in coastal nurseries as well as temperatures during the larval period, indicating that thermal conditions experienced by larvae may carry over to influence growth in nurseries. Correlations between pre- and post-settlement traits demonstrate that size and growth advantages could persist across life history stages. Growth selective mortality was not evident during the initial post-settlement period; however, differences in hatch size and the timing of metamorphosis between July and August fish suggest a selective loss of individuals. The patterns of selection varied among years, indicating that variation in size acquired early in life and temperature influences on the phenology of metamorphosis may determine the direction of selection and directly influence survival of northern rock sole.
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