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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 444 - Feature article
The recent increase in North Sea anchovy most likely stems from climate-driven improvement in recruitment to remnant sympatric populations. Photo: Jeroen Van Der Kooij, CEFAS

Petitgas P, Alheit J, Peck MA, Raab K, Irigoien X, Huret M, van der Kooij J, Pohlmann T, Wagner C, Zarraonaindia I, Dickey-Collas M


Anchovy population expansion in the North Sea


Climate change is expected to affect the abundance and spatial distribution of fishes, as it may enable their populations to colonize new habitats. Spatial expansion can be explained by allopatry (colonizers coming from elsewhere), or sympatry (recruitment pulses of a local remnant population). Petitgas and co-workers used a cross-disciplinary approach combining genetics, transport modelling and survey time series to investigate the mechanisms underlying the recent increase in abundance of anchovy in the North Sea. Their results suggest that the increase originated from improved productivity of sympatric anchovy populations. North Sea anchovy is therefore an example of an isolated, self-recruiting remnant population, which may persist over geological times when habitat availability is restricted.


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