MEPS 339:229-241 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/meps339229

Spring oceanographic conditions and northern shrimp Pandalus borealis recruitment success in the north-western Gulf of St. Lawrence

Patrick Ouellet*, Louise Savard, Pierre Larouche

Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 850 route de la mer, Mont-Joli, Quebec G5H 3Z4, Canada

ABSTRACT: Time series of sea-surface temperature (SST), thermally mixed layer depth, and the SST warming rate in spring at the time of larval emergence were correlated with indices of northern shrimp Pandalus borealis recruitment (cohort abundance and larval survival index) between 1994 and 2003 in the northwest Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. The recruitment index and larval survival index were negatively correlated to daily mean SST at the time of larval emergence. The recruitment index and larval survival index were positively correlated with the SST warming rate and with the mixed layer depth at the time of larval emergence. Overall, the analysis reveals that larval emergence during a period of weak density stratification and low SST in the spring, but followed by relatively high warming rates of the upper layer of the water column, is favourable for larval survival. We suggest that the observed relationships support the hypothesis that oceanographic conditions in the upper layer of the water column, which initiate and sustain high levels of biological production at the time of larval emergence and early development, are favourable for northern shrimp recruitment success. Thus, interannual variability in northern shrimp recruitment in the northwest Gulf of St. Lawrence may be explained by Cushing’s match/mismatch hypothesis.


KEY WORDS: Northern shrimp · Sea-surface temperature · Recruitment · Match/mismatch · Gulf of St. Lawrence · Pandalus borealis


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