Importance of scale to the relationship between abundance of sardine larvae, stability, and food

McClatchie, Sam, Paul J. Rogers, Lachie McLeay

Limnol. Oceanogr., 52(4), 2007, 1570-1579 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.4.1570

ABSTRACT: We used a spatially explicit regression model to relate sardine (Sardinops sagax) larval abundance to water column stability, phytoplankton, and zooplankton off South Australia. The distribution of sardine larvae was significantly associated with stability (p < 0.05) and phytoplankton fluorescence or zooplankton displacement volume (p < 0.001) at broad scales. In contrast there was no relationship between sardine larvae, stability, phytoplankton, or zooplankton at medium or fine scales. The relationships are shown to be scale-dependent. Although the results generally support Lasker’s (1978) ‘‘stable ocean’’ hypothesis, mid-range rather than high stability appears to be favored, in accord with theoretical expectations at both large and small scales.

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