MEPS 547:211-217 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11625

Are negative intra-specific interactions important for recruitment dynamics? A case study of Atlantic fish stocks

Daniel Ricard1,4,*, Fabian Zimmermann2,3, Mikko Heino2,3

1Biology Centre AS CR, v.v.i., Institute of Hydrobiology, České Budějovice 370 05, Czech Republic
2Department of Biology and Hjort Centre for Marine Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Bergen, PO Box 7803, 5020 Bergen, Norway
3Institute of Marine Research and Hjort Centre for Marine Ecosystem Dynamics, PO Box 1879 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
4Present address: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, 343 avenue de l’Université, Moncton, NB E1C 9B6, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In fishes, strong year classes can suppress survival of the following year class because of interactions such as cannibalism and between-cohort competition. The incidence of such negative intra-specific interactions in recruitment dynamics was investigated for commercially relevant fish stocks in the Atlantic Ocean using residuals from the Ricker stock-recruitment model. The autocorrelation of recruitment residuals at lags ranging from 1 to 5 yr were computed and examined. The number of stocks that exhibited positive autocorrelation in recruitment residuals decreased with increased lag length. Negative autocorrelation of recruitment residuals at lags were found in a number of stocks from 3 to 5 yr and were interpreted as evidence of cannibalism or intra-specific competition. Autocorrelation analysis of recruitment time-series provides an easy and generally accessible method of detecting negative intra-specific interactions. However, it is a conservative method, especially when stocks have undergone periods of low abundance or are subject to other strong density-dependent or -independent influences. While the majority of stocks studied here did not exhibit evidence for negative intra-specific interactions, our findings nonetheless suggest that cannibalism and competition at high stock levels can have important consequences on the determination of sustainable biomass and harvest levels.


KEY WORDS: Cannibalism · Intra-specific competition · Recruitment · Population dynamics · Atlantic Ocean


Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Ricard D, Zimmermann F, Heino M (2016) Are negative intra-specific interactions important for recruitment dynamics? A case study of Atlantic fish stocks. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 547:211-217. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11625

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -