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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 430:197-205 (2011)  -  DOI:

Field experiments on depth selection by juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa

R. N. Gibson, M. T. Burrows*, L. Robb

Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban PA37 1QA, UK
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: After settlement on sandy beaches in spring, juvenile (0-group) plaice Pleuronectes platessa L. spend the summer and autumn months at depths <5 m. During this time, there is a strong length–depth relationship in which the smaller fish are most common at the shallow end of their depth range. Mark and recapture experiments with fish caught at depths of 0.5 and 2.5 m demonstrated that nearly all fish subsequently released at their depth of capture stayed at that depth, and few moved to other depths. In contrast, many fish reciprocally transplanted between these depths returned to their depth of capture within 2 d, and very few remained at the transplant depth. The results indicate that juvenile plaice have a fidelity to, and can actively select, a particular depth, although there may be some movement between depths, most of which at the time of the experiment (August/September) was directed offshore.

KEY WORDS: Plaice · Pleuronectes platessa · Depth distribution · Depth fidelity · Homing · Habitat selection

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Cite this article as: Gibson RN, Burrows MT, Robb L (2011) Field experiments on depth selection by juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 430:197-205.

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