MEPS 360:211-217 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07407

Multi-species regime shifts reflected in spawning temperature optima of small pelagic fish in the western North Pacific

Akinori Takasuka*, Yoshioki Oozeki, Hiroshi Kubota

National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fisheries Research Agency, 2-12-4 Fukuura, Kanazawa, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-8648, Japan

ABSTRACT: Small pelagic fish have exhibited cyclic population dynamics in complex marine ecosystems worldwide. These fish regime shifts have been associated with ocean regime shifts; however, the biological mechanisms have remained unresolved and have been considered to depend mainly on multi-step processes through food webs. In the present study, we focus on species-specific temperature optima and show that similarities and differences in spawning temperature optima reflect those in the long-term population dynamics among multi-species pelagic fish in the western North Pacific. Spawning temperature optima were examined for anchovy, sardine, mackerel and jack mackerel, based on the occurrence of eggs and larvae, using a long-term (1978 to 2004) data set of egg and larval surveys off the Pacific coast of Japan. Anchovy exhibited a plateau-like spawning temperature pattern with a peak at ca. 22°C. In contrast, sardine and mackerel exhibited steeply peaked patterns with marked peaks at ca. 16 and 18°C, respectively. On the contrary, jack mackerel showed a very similar spawning temperature pattern to anchovy. These relationships were consistent with their flourish and collapse in long-term population dynamics. Furthermore, sardine and mackerel with stenothermal spawning patterns showed dramatic fluctuations relative to anchovy and jack mackerel with more eurythermal features. The multi-species comparisons extracted a simple and direct pathway: if viewed at large scales, direct temperature impacts on vital parameters provide a plausible explanation of multi-species regime shifts of small pelagic fish in the western North Pacific.


KEY WORDS: Fish regime shift · Spawning temperature optimum · Long-term population dynamics · Anchovy · Sardine · Mackerel · Jack mackerel · Western North Pacific


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Cite this article as: Takasuka A, Oozeki Y, Kubota H (2008) Multi-species regime shifts reflected in spawning temperature optima of small pelagic fish in the western North Pacific. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 360:211-217. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07407

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