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Title: Spatial and temporal relationships between Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) abundance estimates at sea and plankton records from the CPR survey in the North Atlantic Ocean
Author: Fernández Toledano, Jorge H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 4046
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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The present study investigated spatial and temporal relationships between fluctuations in the abundance of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) and plankton records from the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) in the North Atlantic Ocean. Analyses that examined co-variation in time series of salmon pre-fishery abundance (PFA) from fishing nations on both sides of the North Atlantic revealed a high degree of common variation between neighbouring nations for abundance of one sea winter salmon (1SW) and a common decline in the long-term abundance trends for multi-sea winter salmon (MSW). An appraisal of the data attributes for a selection of plankton taxa sampled by the CPR, corresponding to seasonal abundance in specific regions, indicated that these data capture useful spatial and temporal information on the abundance of the sampled taxa. Spatial interpolations were carried out using Data-Interpolating Variational Analysis (DIVA) for planktonic taxa that have been proven to relate to Atlantic salmon in previous studies, namely Calanus finmarchicus, Euphausiacea and Hyperiidae. Geographical boundaries were established for distinct populations of Calanus finmarchicus and for distinct aggregations of species in the cases of the Euphausiacea and the Hyperiidae. This knowledge was enhanced with information on the likelihood of persistence of these populations obtained by analysing the coherency of their seasonal cycles of abundance. This study detected strong relationships, in the form of long-term correlations, between the three selected plankton taxa (Calanus finmarchicus, Euphausiacea, Hyperiidae) and the diatom component of phytoplankton. These results indicated that the population dynamics of plankton species assemblages in these regions are influenced by common biotic and abiotic factors. Significant relationships were found between pre-fishery abundance PFA estimates for post-smolt salmon and Hyperiid amphipods. The relationships detected were particularly strong for 1SWsalmon of British and Icelandic origin at a lag of 1 year, i.e. corresponding to effects on the early phase of migration at sea. Relationships detected corresponding to the Euphausiacea and Calanus finmarchicus were more prevalent at lag-0 after the first winter at sea i.e. they relate to effects on the adult salmon. The results corresponding to MSW salmon also provided some indication of carry-over effects from the early phase of migration on adult survival. This work provided support for the hypothesis that early marine mortality is critical to the overall dynamics of salmon populations. Such information on ecosystem interactions is needed to improve the current knowledge on factors relating to salmon survival at sea. This information can be used to fine-tune important parameters of predictive models for stock management or conservation of salmon, especially in the face of the pressures of climate change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Icelandic Salmonid Research Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atlantic salmon ; Fish populations ; Plankton