Inter-Research > MEPS > v443 > p181-205  

MEPS 443:181-205 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09366

Habitat suitability modelling for sardine Sardina pilchardus in a highly diverse ecosystem: the Mediterranean Sea

Maria Pilar Tugores1, Marianna Giannoulaki2,*, Magdalena Iglesias1, Angelo Bonanno3, Vjekoslav Tičina4, Iole Leonori5, Athanassios Machias2, Konstantinos Tsagarakis2, Núria Díaz1, Ana Giráldez6, Bernando Patti3, Andrea De Felice5, Gualtiero Basilone3, Vasilis Valavanis2

1Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, Instituto Español de Oceanografia, Muelle de Poniente s/n, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, España
2Institute of Marine Biological Resources, Hellenic Centre of Marine Research, PO Box 2214, 71003, Iraklion, Greece
3Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino Costiero, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Capo Granitola, 91021, Campobello di Mazara (TP), Italy
4Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Šetalište I. Meštrovića 63, 21000 Split, Croatia
5Istituto di Scienze Marine, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 60125 Ancona, Italy
6Centro Oceanográfico de Málaga, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Puerto Pesquero s/n, 29640 Fuengirola, Málaga, España

ABSTRACT: Integrated information from different parts of the Mediterranean Sea was used to model the spatial and temporal variability of the distribution grounds of the sardine population. Acoustic data from the North Aegean Sea (Eastern Mediterranean), the Adriatic Sea (Central Mediterranean), the Sicily Channel (Central Mediterranean) and Spanish Mediterranean waters (Western Mediterranean) were analysed along with satellite environmental and bathymetric data to model the potential habitat of sardine during summer, autumn and early winter. Generalized additive models were applied in a presence−absence approach. Models were validated in terms of their predictive ability and used to construct maps exhibiting the probability of sardine presence throughout the entire Mediterranean basin as a measure of habitat adequacy for sardine. Bottom depth and sea surface temperature were the environmental variables that explained most of the data variability. Several areas along the Mediterranean coastline were indicated as suitable habitat for sardine in different seasons. An expansion of these areas over the continental shelf, up to 100 m depth, was consistently noticed from summer to winter. This was attributed to the horizontal movements of sardine related to spawning (i.e. winter period) and the peculiarities of the Mediterranean Sea where areas favouring growth, feeding and spawning processes tend to be localised and prevent a long range, offshore migration as opposed to large upwelling ecosystems. Moreover, within the study period, a positive relationship between the extent of sardine preferred habitat and landings was revealed for both summer and winter seasons throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea.


KEY WORDS: Sardine · Habitat suitability modelling · Sardine potential habitat · Potential spawning habitat · Mediterranean Sea · Small pelagic


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Cite this article as: Tugores MP, Giannoulaki M, Iglesias M, Bonanno A and others (2011) Habitat suitability modelling for sardine Sardina pilchardus in a highly diverse ecosystem: the Mediterranean Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 443:181-205. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09366

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