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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Continental Shelf Internal Wave Reef Fish Small Fish Visual Count 

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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

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