MEPS 366:187-202 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07539

Abundance and diversity of coastal fish larvae as indicators of recent changes in ocean and climate conditions in the Oregon upwelling zone

Richard D. Brodeur1,*, William T. Peterson1, Toby D. Auth2, Heather L. Soulen2,4, Maria M. Parnel2,5, Ashley A. Emerson3

1Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Newport, Oregon 97365, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, Oregon State University, Newport, Oregon 97365, USA
3Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011, USA
4Present address: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, PO Box 28, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, Maryland 21037, USA
5Present address: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington 98501, USA

ABSTRACT: We examined ichthyoplankton sampled from 2 stations, 9 and 18 km offshore of Newport, Oregon, USA, over a decade of cruises every 2 wk from 1996 to 2005. The 10 most dominant taxa comprised approximately 87.3% of the total catch. Concentration of fish larvae was highest in January to March, whereas diversity peaked from March through May. Both overall diversity and density of larval fishes were relatively constant throughout the period of 1996 to 2003, with a dramatic decrease in these metrics since 2004, especially for winter-spawning (January-May) species. During cool years (1999-2002), the assemblage was dominated by northern or coastal taxa such as sand lance Ammodytes hexapterus, sanddabs Citharichthys spp., and smelts Osmeridae, whereas in warm years (2003-2005), southern or offshore taxa such as English sole Parophrys vetulus, northern anchovy Engraulis mordax, and rockfishes Sebastes spp. were more abundant. These changes were related to concurrent shifts in the zooplankton biomass and composition off Oregon during cold and warm environmental regimes. We have identified a small subset of fish whose larvae can be monitored as indicators of warm and cold phases in the northeast Pacific Ocean.


KEY WORDS: Larval fish · Density · Diversity · Temporal variability · Upwelling ecosystem · California Current


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Cite this article as: Brodeur RD, Peterson WT, Auth TD, Soulen HL, Parnel MM, Emerson AA (2008) Abundance and diversity of coastal fish larvae as indicators of recent changes in ocean and climate conditions in the Oregon upwelling zone. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 366:187-202. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07539

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