Seasonal changes in the diel vertical migration of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in the northern Gulf of Alaska

  • Charles F. AdamsEmail author
  • Robert J. Foy
  • John J. Kelley
  • Kenneth O. Coyle


Walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) perform diel vertical migration (DVM) as juveniles, but have an increasing tendency to be associated with the bottom with age. We studied the DVM of a local population of adult pollock in the northern Gulf of Alaska in August and November 2003. There was no relationship between the depth of pollock and the isolume (line of equal light intensity) necessary for visual foraging in August. Pollock passed through the thermocline at this time. In November there was a significant relationship between pollock biomass above/below the 200 m isobath and the isolume necessary for visual foraging. It is hypothesized that in August pollock ignore the isolume and thermocline, simply tracking the movements of their prey (euphausiids) to feed upon them near the surface at night. In November, relatively denser pollock shoals migrate up and down with the isolume necessary for visual foraging to feed on decapods.


Diel vertical migration Gulf of Alaska Walleye pollock Theragra chalcogramma 



We thank Biospherical Instruments, Inc., for the loan of the PRR 2600 that made this study possible. We also thank the crew of the F/V Nightwatch, as well as Dave Aldrich, Elizabeth Moundalexis and Sarah Norberg for assistance with field collections. Alexei Pinchuk provided Visual Basic code to fix damaged HTI files. Margaret Spahn provided the bathymetry shapefile. Support for this project was provided by the Alaska SeaLife Center Steller Sea Lion Research Program with funding from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Reference to trade names does not imply endorsement by the National Marine Fisheries Service.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles F. Adams
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  • Robert J. Foy
    • 3
    • 6
  • John J. Kelley
    • 4
  • Kenneth O. Coyle
    • 4
  1. 1.Seward Marine Center, School of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesUniversity of Alaska FairbanksSewardAlaska
  2. 2.Alaska SeaLife CenterSewardAlaska
  3. 3.Fishery Industrial Technology Center, School of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesUniversity of Alaska FairbanksKodiakAlaska
  4. 4.Institute of Marine Science, School of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksAlaska
  5. 5.School for Marine Science and TechnologyUniversity of Massachusetts DartmouthNew BedfordUSA
  6. 6.Kodiak Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationKodiak Fisheries Research CenterKodiakAlaska

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