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MEPS 644:173-185 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13366

Assessing the spatiotemporal persistence of fish distributions: a case study on two red mullet species (Mullus surmuletus and M. barbatus) in the western Mediterranean

Iosu Paradinas1,2,3,*, David Conesa2,4, Antonio López-Quílez2,4, Antonio Esteban5, Lucía Martina Martín López1,3, José María Bellido2,5, Maria Grazia Pennino2,6

1Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, KY16 8LB, UK
2Statistical Modeling Ecology Group (SMEG), Departament d’Estadística i Investigació Operativa, Universitat de València, C/Dr. Moliner 50, Burjassot, 46100 Valencia, Spain
3Ipar Perspective Asociación, Karabiondo Kalea, 48600 Sopela, Spain
4Departament d’Estadística i Investigació Operativa, Universitat de València, C/ Dr. Moliner 50, Burjassot, 46100 Valencia, Spain
5Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Murcia, C/ Varadero 1, 30740 San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia), Spain
6Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Subida a Radio Faro, 50-52, 36390 Vigo (Pontevedra), Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Understanding the spatiotemporal persistence of fish distributions is key to defining fish hotspots and effective fisheries-restricted areas (FRAs). Hierarchical Bayesian spatiotemporal models provide an excellent framework to understand these distributions, as they can accommodate different spatiotemporal behaviour in the data, primarily due to their flexibility. The aim of this research was to characterize the fundamental behavioural patterns of fish as persistent, opportunistic or progressive by comparing different spatiotemporal model structures in order to provide better information for marine spatial planning. To illustrate this method, the spatiotemporal distributions of 2 sympatric Mullidae species, the striped red mullet Mullus surmuletus and the red mullet M. barbatus, were analysed. The occurrence of each species, its conditional-to-presence abundance and median length were analysed using Mediterranean trawl survey data from the western Mediterranean between 2000 and 2016. Results demonstrate that there are various common hotspots of both species distributed along the Iberian coast. The convenient persistent spatiotemporal distribution of these hotspots facilitates the configuration of a network of connected FRAs for red mullets in the study area.


KEY WORDS: Fisheries management · Fisheries-restricted areas · Marine spatial planning · Spatiotemporal · Species distribution modelling


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Cite this article as: Paradinas I, Conesa D, López-Quílez A, Esteban A, Martín López LM, Bellido JM, Pennino MG (2020) Assessing the spatiotemporal persistence of fish distributions: a case study on two red mullet species (Mullus surmuletus and M. barbatus) in the western Mediterranean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 644:173-185. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13366

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