Inter-Research > MEPS > v680 > p177-191  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 680:177-191 (2021)  -  DOI:

Linking dispersal connectivity to population structure and management boundaries for saithe in the Northeast Atlantic

Mari S. Myksvoll1,*, Jennifer Devine2, María Quintela1, Audrey J. Geffen3, Richard D. M. Nash1,6, Anne Sandvik1, François Besnier1, Atal Saha4, Geir Dahle1, Eeva Jansson1, Kjell Nedreaas1, Torild Johansen5

1Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870, Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), 217 Akersten Street, Port Nelson, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, PO Box 7800, 5020 Bergen, Norway
4Department of Zoology, Division of Population Genetics, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
5Institute of Marine Research, Framsenteret, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
6Present address: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Population connectivity is an increasingly important focal area for the understanding of how marine fish populations respond to anthropogenic pressures like climate change and fisheries. Our model species, the saithe Pollachius virens (Linnaeus, 1758), was chosen because genetic analyses have documented a mismatch between the assessed stocks and the biological populations. We combined laboratory experiments of saithe egg buoyancy and temperature-modulated development time, genetic field data, and high-resolution oceanographic models to disentangle the mechanisms causing isolation and mixing between the management units and the biological populations. Saithe egg buoyancy and development data were included in an individual-based model to simulate transport from all known spawning grounds in the Northeast Atlantic. The results show that interannual variability in the transport of early life stages is strongly influenced by wider climate systems (e.g. the North Atlantic Oscillation). One sample (Rockall) showed genetic differences from the other samples, and this finding was supported by the model showing low mixing with other populations and strong local retention. Strong retention of early life stages around Iceland could indicate an isolated population; however, this possible isolation is counteracted by active migration of adults westward from the Norwegian coast, and no genetic differentiation from other populations was found. Overall, the dispersal modeling supports the genetic analysis, showing a large and well-connected Central Northeast Atlantic population distributed across several management units. This mismatch between population structure and management units can potentially increase the risk for overexploitation of saithe.

KEY WORDS: Egg buoyancy · Egg stage duration · Genetic population structure · Individual-based modeling · SNP markers · ROMS

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Myksvoll MS, Devine J, Quintela M, Geffen AJ and others (2021) Linking dispersal connectivity to population structure and management boundaries for saithe in the Northeast Atlantic. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 680:177-191.

Export citation
RSS - Facebook - - linkedIn