Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 4, pp 885–897 | Cite as

Vertical distribution of fish larvae in the Canaries-African coastal transition zone in summer

  • J.M. RodríguezEmail author
  • S. Hernández-León
  • E.D. Barton
Research Article


This study reports the vertical distribution of fish larvae during the 1999 summer upwelling season in the Canaries-African Coastal Transition Zone (the Canaries-ACTZ). The transition between the African coastal upwelling and the typical subtropical offshore conditions is a region of intense mesoscale activity that supports a larval fish population dominated by African neritic species. During the study, the thermal stratification extended almost to the surface everywhere, and the surface mixed layer was typically shallow or non-existent. Upwelling occurred on the African shelf in a limited coastal sub-area of our sampling. The vertical distributions of the entire larval fish population, as well as of individual species, were independent of the seasonal thermocline. Fish larvae and mesozooplankton were concentrated at intermediate depths regardless of the thermocline position, probably because of its weak signature and spatial and temporal variability. Day/night vertical distributions suggest that some species did not perform diel vertical migration (DVM), whereas others showed either type I DVM or type II DVM. The opposing DVM patterns of different species compensate for each other resulting in no net DVM for the larval fish population as a whole.


Vertical Distribution Larval Fish Anticyclonic Eddy Daily Vertical Migration Thermocline Depth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Fieldwork was carried out as part of the CANIGO project, funded by the EU, and of the “Pelagic (EU-CICYT 1FD97-1084)” project from the Spanish Ministry of Education and the European Union”. We thank the three anonymous referees for their useful comments on the manuscript. We specially thank Dr Richard D. Brodeur for his invaluable and meticulous comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.M. Rodríguez
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Hernández-León
    • 2
  • E.D. Barton
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto Español de OceanografíaCentro Oceanográfico de GijónGijón (Asturias)Spain
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias del MarUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC)VigoSpain

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