MEPS 506:279-290 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10787

Spawning behavior in Atlantic cod: analysis by use of data storage tags

Timothy B. Grabowski1,2,*, Vilhjálmur Thorsteinsson3, Gudrún Marteinsdóttir1

1Institute of Biology, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
2US Geological Survey, Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 79409-2120, USA
3Marine Research Institute, 121 Reykjavik, Iceland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Electronic data storage tags (DSTs) were implanted into Atlantic cod captured in Icelandic waters from 2002 to 2007 and the depth profiles recovered from these tags (females: n = 31, males: n = 27) were used to identify patterns consistent with published descriptions of cod courtship and spawning behavior. The individual periods of time that males spent exhibiting behavior consistent with being present in a spawning aggregation—i.e. periods consisting of a clear tidal signature in the DST depth profile associated with an individual remaining on or near the substrate—were longer than those of females. Over the course of a spawning season, male cod spent approximately twice the amount of time in spawning aggregations than females, but female cod visited more aggregations per unit time. On average, males participated in approximately 57% more putative spawning events, i.e. vertical ascents potentially corresponding to gamete release, than did females. However, males <85 cm total length participated in the same number of putative spawning events as females of comparable size. In both sexes, larger individuals and/or individuals that spent a longer period of time within an aggregation participated in a larger number of putative spawning events. Although further validation and refinement is necessary, particularly in the identification of spawning events, the ability offered by DSTs to quantify cod spawning behavior may aid in the development of management and conservation plans.


KEY WORDS: Gadus morhua · Electronic data storage tags · Leks · Mating system · Reproductive behavior


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Cite this article as: Grabowski TB, Thorsteinsson V, Marteinsdóttir G (2014) Spawning behavior in Atlantic cod: analysis by use of data storage tags. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 506:279-290. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10787

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