Impact of hatch-date on early life growth and survival of Mueller's pearlside (Maurolicus Muelleri) larvae, and life-history consequences
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Growth and survival of Maurolicus muelleri larvae in Herdlefjorden, Norway, were investigated by daily otolith increment analysis. While high egg densities were generally observed throughout the spawning season, three cohorts each with a narrow window of hatching dates were identified. The first of these cohorts was characterized by low growth and poor morphometric condition and disappeared from the fjord during autumn. High-resolution drift modeling indicated that Herdlefjorden had a net export of larvae and negligible import in the period cohort 1 disappeared. Yet, the advective loss rate of larvae was not considered high enough to explain the near complete disappearance of the first cohort. An otolith-based growth chronology indicated that growth conditions in Herdlefjorden improved noticeably around mid-September and remained favorable the following month. The analysis of daily otolith increments could thus be used to document within-season variability in larval growth and survival. The low and variable survival due to short-term fluctuations in environmental conditions indicate that multiple batch spawning is an adequately evolved life-history strategy for marine planktivorous fish such as M. muelleri.