Marine Biology

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 161–171 | Cite as

Influence of surface slicks on the distribution and onshore movements of small fish

  • M. J. Kingsford
  • J. H. Choat


The surface slicks of internal waves were sampled in continental shelf waters off the east coast of Northland, New Zealand, from 1982–1985. Densities of small fish and zooplankton from surface waters were higher in slicks than in the rippled water adjacent to them. Presettlement fish, of species found as adults nearshore, were abundant in ichthyoplankton samples and visual counts from slicks. These fish ranged from fish with primordial fins to those with adult fin-ray counts. Some small reef fish aggregated around drift algae. Drift algae were also abundant in slicks. Slicks moved at 0.5 to 1.25 km h-1 in the direction of shore. Hence, a consequence of aggregation in slicks is that presettlement fish may be transported onshore. When slicks were absent, drift algae were found in scattered patches at different distances from shore. In the presence of slicks algae were aligned in them. Internal waves, therefore, may have the ability to turn scattered distributions into regular patterns. Because the surface slicks that internal waves produce are common coastal features, we should modify our perspective of how small fish and zooplankton are distributed in local water masses. Furthermore, the occurrence of internal waves should influence the way in which surface waters are sampled. We suggest that fish settlement patterns need to be investigated concurrently with measurements of physical mechanisms which may promote aggregation, and onshore movements of small fish (e.g. internal waves). These waves may contribute to the variability in settlement rates of small fish.


Continental Shelf Internal Wave Reef Fish Small Fish Visual Count 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Ayling, T. and G. T. Cox: Collins guide to the sea fishes of New Zealand, 343 pp. Auckland: Collins 1982Google Scholar
  2. Barstow, S. F.: The ecology of Langmuir circulation: a review. Mar. envirl Res.9, 211–236 (1983)Google Scholar
  3. Creswell, G. R. and F. M. Boland: Internal waves detected with a continental shelf current-meter array. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res.32, 1–8 (1981)Google Scholar
  4. Crossland, J.: Fish eggs and larvae of the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Fish. Res. Bull. N. Z. Minist. Agric. Fish.23, 1–59 (1981)Google Scholar
  5. D'Asaro, E. A.: Wind-forced internal waves in the North Pacific and Sargasso Sea. J. phys. Oceanogr.14, 781–794 (1984)Google Scholar
  6. Ewing, G.: Slicks, surface films and internal waves. J. nar. Res.9, 161–187 (1950)Google Scholar
  7. Faller, A. J. and A. H. Woodcock: The spacing of windrows ofSargassum in the ocean. J. mar. Res.22, 22–29 (1964)Google Scholar
  8. Fang, X. H., F. M. Boland and G. R. Cresswell: Further observations of high-frequency current variations on the continental shelf near Sydney, New South Wales. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res.35, 611–618 (1984)Google Scholar
  9. Fortier, L. and W. C. Leggett: Fickian transport and the dispersal of fish larvae in estuaries. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sciences39, 1150–1163 (1982)Google Scholar
  10. Garrett, W. D.: The organic chemical composition of the ocean surface. Deep-Sea Res.14, 221–227 (1967)Google Scholar
  11. Green, R. H.: Sampling design and statistical methods for environmental biologists, 257 pp. New York: Wiley-Interscience 1979Google Scholar
  12. Halpern, D.: Observations on short-period internal waves in Massachusetts Bay. J. mar. Res.29, 116–132 (1971)Google Scholar
  13. Haury, L. R., M. G. Briscoe and M. H. Orr: Tidally generated internal wave packets in Massachusetts Bay. Nature, Lond278, 308–317 (1979)Google Scholar
  14. Haury, L. R., J. A. McGowan and P. H. Wiebe: Patterns and processes in the time-space scales of plankton distributions.In: Spatial pattern in plankton communities, pp 277–327. Ed. by J. Steele. New York: Plenum Press 1978Google Scholar
  15. Haury, L. R., P. H. Wiebe, M. H. Orr and M. G. Briscoe: Tidally generated high-frequency internal wave packets and their effects on plankton in Massachusetts Bay. J. mar. Res.41, 65–112 (1983)Google Scholar
  16. Huhnerfuss, H., P. Lange and W. Walter: Wave damping by monomolecular surface films and their chemical structure. Part II. Variation of the hydrophilic part of the film molecules including natural substances. J. mar. Res.42, 737–759 (1984)Google Scholar
  17. Kamykowski, D.: Possible interactions between plankton and semidiurnal internal tides. II. Deep thermoclines and trophic effects. J. mar. Res.34, 499–509 (1976)Google Scholar
  18. Kingsford, M. J. and J. H. Choat: The fauna associated with drift algae captured with a plankton-mesh purse seine net. Limnol. Oceanogr.30, 618–630 (1985)Google Scholar
  19. Legendre, L. and S. Demers: Towards dynamic biological oceanography and limnology. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sciences41, 2–19 (1984)Google Scholar
  20. Leis, J. M.: Hawaiian creediid fishes (Crystallodytes cookei andLimnichthys donaldsoni): development of eggs and larvae and use of pelagic eggs to trace coastal water movement. Bull. mar. Sci.32, 166–180 (1982)Google Scholar
  21. Mercer, S. F. M.: Hydrology of the north-east coast of the North Island 1973–74. Occ. Publs Fish. Res. Div. N.Z. Minist. Agric. Fish.17, 1–27 (1979)Google Scholar
  22. Mitchell, C. T. and J. R. Hunter: Fishes associated with drifting kelp,Macrocytis pyrifera, off the coast of southern California and Baja California. Bull. Dep. Fish Game St. Calif.56, 288–297 (1970)Google Scholar
  23. Nelson, W. R., M. C. Ingham and W. E. Schaaf: Larval transport and year-class strength of Atlantic menhaden,Brevoortia tyrannus. Fish. Bull. U.S.75, 23–41 (1977)Google Scholar
  24. Omori, M. and W. M. Hamner: Patchy distribution of zooplankton: behavior, population assessment and sampling problems. Mar. Biol.72, 193–200 (1982)Google Scholar
  25. Osborne, A. R. and T. L. Burch: Internal solitons in the Andaman Sea. Science, N.Y.208, 451–460 (1980)Google Scholar
  26. Owen, R. W.: Fronts and eddies in the sea: mechanisms, interactions and biological effects.In: Analysis of marine ecosystems, pp 197–233. Ed. by A. R. Longhurst. London: Academic Press 1981Google Scholar
  27. Paul, L. J.: Some seasonal water temperature patterns in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. N. z. Jl mar. Freshwat. Res.2, 535–558 (1968)Google Scholar
  28. Pond, S. and G. L. Pickard: Introductory dynamic oceanography, 241 pp. Oxford: Pergamon Press 1978Google Scholar
  29. Ramsey, W. L.: Dissolved oxygen in shallow near-shore water and its relation to possible bubble formation. Limnol. Oceanogr.7, 453–461 (1962)Google Scholar
  30. Sandstrom, H. and J. A. Elliott: Internal tide and solitons on the Scotian Shelf: a nutrient pump at work. J. geophys. Res.89, 6415–6426 (1984)Google Scholar
  31. Shanks, A. L.: Surface slicks associated with tidally forced internal waves may transport pelagic larvae of benthic invertebrates and fishes shoreward. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.13, 311–315 (1983)Google Scholar
  32. Shanks, A. L.: Behavioural basis of internal-wave-induced shoreward transport of megalopae of the crabPachygrapsus crassipes. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.24, 289–295 (1985)Google Scholar
  33. Smith, W. G., J. D. Sibunka and A. Wells: Diel movements of larval yellowtail flounder,Limanda ferruginea, determined from discrete depth sampling. Fish. Bull. U.S.76, 167–178 (1977)Google Scholar
  34. Steele, J. H.: Patchiness.In: The ecology of the seas, pp 98–115. Ed. by D. H. Cushing and J. J. Walsh. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1976Google Scholar
  35. Stommel, H.: Trajectories of small bodies sinking slowly through convection cells. J. mar. Res.8, 24–29 (1949)Google Scholar
  36. Underwood, A. J.: Techniques of analysis of variance in experimental marine biology and ecology. Oceanogr. mar. Biol. A. Rev.19, 513–605 (1981)Google Scholar
  37. Wandschneider, K.: Vertical distribution of phytoplankton during investigations of a natural surface film. Mar. Biol.52, 105–111 (1979)Google Scholar
  38. Winer, B. J.: Statistical principles in experimental design, 2nd ed. 907 pp. Tokyo: McGraw-Hill Kogakusha, Ltd. 1971Google Scholar
  39. Wroblewski, J. S.: Formulation of growth and mortality of larval northern anchovy in a turbulent feeding environment. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.20, 13–22 (1984)Google Scholar
  40. Zeldis, J. R. and J. B. Jillett: Aggregation of pelagicMunida gregaria (Fabricius) (Decapoda, Anomura) by coastal fronts and internal waves. J. Plankton Res.4, 839–859 (1982)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Kingsford
    • 1
  • J. H. Choat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations