Fine-scale structures as spots of increased fish concentration in the open ocean

Alberto Baudena, Enrico Ser-Giacomi, Donatella D'Onofrio, Xavier Capet, Cedric Cotté, Yves Cherel, Francesco D'Ovidio
2021 Scientific Reports  
AbstractOceanic frontal zones have been shown to deeply influence the distribution of primary producers and, at the other extreme of the trophic web, top predators. However, the relationship between these structures and intermediate trophic levels is much more obscure. In this paper we address this knowledge gap by comparing acoustic measurements of mesopelagic fish concentrations to satellite-derived fine-scale Lagrangian Coherent Structures in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean. First,
more » ... demonstrate that higher fish concentrations occur more frequently in correspondence with strong Lagrangian Coherent Structures. Secondly, we illustrate that, while increased fish densities are more likely to be observed over these structures, the presence of a fine-scale feature does not imply a concomitant fish accumulation, as other factors affect fish distribution. Thirdly, we show that, when only chlorophyll-rich waters are considered, front intensity modulates significantly more the local fish concentration. Finally, we discuss a model representing fish movement along Lagrangian features, specifically built for mid-trophic levels. Its results, obtained with realistic parameters, are qualitatively consistent with the observations and the spatio-temporal scales analysed. Overall, these findings may help to integrate intermediate trophic levels in trophic models, which can ultimately support management and conservation policies.
doi:10.1038/s41598-021-94368-1 pmid:34349142 pmcid:PMC8338936 fatcat:rzo7u57kpjfwlc7pusblqbd3p4