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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 685:1-18 (2022)  -  DOI:

Entrainment and development of larval fish assemblages in two contrasting cold core eddies of the East Australian Current system

Valquiria Garcia1,2, Hayden T. Schilling1,3, Derrick O. Cruz1, Steven M. Hawes4, Jason D. Everett1,3,5, Moninya Roughan6, Anthony G. Miskiewicz1,7, Evgeny A. Pakhomov8,9, Andrew Jeffs10, Iain M. Suthers1,3,*

1School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2Laboratório de Biologia e Cultivo de Peixes de Água Doce, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis 88066-260, Brazil
3Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia
4School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
5Centre for Applications in Natural Resource Mathematics, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
6School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
7Ichthyology Department, Australian Museum Research Institute, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia
8Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
9Hakai Institute, Heriot Bay, BC V0P 1H0, Canada
10School of Biological Sciences and Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Cyclonic eddies are diverse in their size, age, upwelling and behaviour, which has significant implications for fisheries production and connectivity when they interact with the continental shelf. To ascertain coastal entrainment by eddies, we compared the larval fish community of 2 contrasting cyclonic eddies in 3 depth strata (0-5, 5-50, 50-100 m), and with the adjacent shelf community. The frontal cyclonic eddy was smaller and younger than the mesoscale cyclonic eddy. A larval fish entrainment index, based on the ratio of coastal to oceanic taxa, revealed the relative abundance of coastal larvae entrained into the upper mixed layer of the frontal eddy, consistent with published numerical modelling studies of similar eddies. The frontal eddy had a high abundance of commercially important coastal taxa entrained from the inner shelf. However, the adjacent inner shelf water and putative location for frontal eddy formation had recently been displaced by the East Australian Current, resulting in the larval fish community being dominated by oceanic taxa. The spatial and temporal dynamics of coastal entrainment into the larger, older cyclonic eddy and the adjacent shelf region were revealed by mixtures of coastal and oceanic taxa in each of the depth strata. The larger cyclonic eddy had a higher biomass of zooplankton, indicating the cumulative effects of eddy age and production. Eddies which interact with the shelf enable cross-shelf mixing and may contribute to coastal fisheries.

KEY WORDS: Ichthyoplankton · Zooplankton · Cyclonic eddy · Tasman Sea · Connectivity · Cross-shelf exchange

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Cite this article as: Garcia V, Schilling HT, Cruz DO, Hawes SM and others (2022) Entrainment and development of larval fish assemblages in two contrasting cold core eddies of the East Australian Current system. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 685:1-18.

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