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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 668:1-20 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13746

FEATURE ARTICLE
Habitat use of adult Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis during the spawning season in the Sea of Japan: evidence for a trade-off between thermal preference and reproductive activity

Ko Fujioka1,*, Kohei Sasagawa1, Tomoyuki Kuwahara2, Ethan E. Estess3, Yuta Takahara4, Kazuyoshi Komeyama5, Takashi Kitagawa6, Charles J. Farwell3, Seishiro Furukawa7, Junji Kinoshita8, Hiromu Fukuda1, Minoru Kato2, Akiko Aoki1, Osamu Abe1,9, Seiji Ohshimo10, Nobuaki Suzuki11

1Highly Migratory Resources Division, Fisheries Stock Assessment Center, Fisheries Resources Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, 5-7-1 Orido, Shimizu, Shizuoka 424-8633, Japan
2JANUS, Environmental Management Unit, Nishi-Shinjuku Prime Square 5F, 7-5-25 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
3Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940, USA
4Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, 3-1-1 Minato-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 041-8611, Japan
5Hokkaido University, Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, 3-1-1 Minato-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 041-8611, Japan
6The University of Tokyo, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8564, Japan
7Pelagic Fish Resources Division, Fisheries Stock Assessment Center, Fisheries Resources Institute, Niigata Branch, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, 1-5939-22 Suido-cho, Chuo-ku, Niigata, Niigata 951-8121, Japan
8Pelagic Fish Resources Division, Fisheries Stock Assessment Center, Fisheries Resources Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, 2-12-4 Fukuura, Kanazawa, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-8648, Japan
9Fisheries Technology Institute, Kamisu Branch, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency 7670-7 Hasaki, Kamisu, Ibaraki 314-0408, Japan
10Pelagic Fish Resources Division, Fisheries Stock Assessment Center, Fisheries Resources Institute, Nagasaki Branch, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, 1551-8 Taira-machi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki 851-2213, Japan
11Fisheries Agency, 1-2-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8907, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: To examine the habitat usage of adult Pacific bluefin tuna (PBF), electronic tagging was conducted in the Sea of Japan during May and June of 2012-2017. Archival tags were internally implanted and pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags were deployed; data on the horizontal movements and diving behaviours of 36 individual PBF were successfully retrieved. In the summer spawning season, the tagged PBF were concentrated near Sado Island and Oki Island in the Sea of Japan, and they were distributed widely to the southwest (near Tsushima Island) or northeast (near the Tsugaru Strait) in the autumn and winter. We obtained the first long-term tracking record (246 d) for adult PBF, and this individual exhibited residency in a known spawning region during the spawning season in the proximity of warm-core eddy features. This fish spent most of the daytime below the thermocline between 30 and 150 m depths where the surface ambient temperature was 26.0 ± 1.5°C, but at night it ventured into the warm surface layer. Its whole-body heat transfer coefficient increased when it experienced warm waters (≥24°C), which we suggest is a physiological response to avoid overheating. The mean peritoneal cavity temperature was only 1.8°C higher than the ambient temperature, compared with 6.9°C higher during the cooler autumn-winter period. Our hypothesis is that the warm surface temperatures found in the spawning grounds induce a physiology-reproduction trade-off in adult PBF, which must behaviourally and physiologically thermoregulate their body temperature to gain spatial and temporal access to oceanographic conditions that may promote larval survivorship and growth.


KEY WORDS: Electronic tagging · Spawning migration · Thermoregulation · Warm-core eddies · Vertical movements


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Cite this article as: Fujioka K, Sasagawa K, Kuwahara T, Estess EE and others (2021) Habitat use of adult Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis during the spawning season in the Sea of Japan: evidence for a trade-off between thermal preference and reproductive activity. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 668:1-20. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13746

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