National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1996

Physical transport of young pollock larvae (Theragra chalcogramma) near Shelikof Strait as inferred from a hydrodynamic model

Hermann, A.J., W.C. Rugen, P.J. Stabeno, and N.A. Bond

Fish. Oceanogr., 5(Suppl. 1), 58–70, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.1996.tb00082.x (1996)

An advective model was used to simulate the drift of larval walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) over a 40-day period (late April through early June) near Shelikof Strait, Alaska. This model was used: (i) to assess how much of the observed change in larval positions during that period can be explained by transport at fixed depth; (ii) to demonstrate that observed change can be related to mean large-scale meteorological forcing; and (iii) to investigate accumulation of larvae in specific areas near the coast. Based on availability of larval and circulation data, three years were studied: 1988, 1989 and 1991. Velocity fields generated from a hydrodynamic model driven by winds and runoff were used to advect particles seeded in accordance with observed larval distributions in late April of each year. The modelled larvae were tracked at 40 m depth, corresponding to the mean depth of sampled larvae and the depth of neutrally buoyant drifters employed in field studies. Specific features observed in late May larval surveys were reproduced by the model, such as the accumulation of larvae in a shoal area downstream of the strait. Differences among the modelled years include extensive flushing of larvae to the south-west in 1988 and 1991, vs. limited flushing in 1989. These differences appear related to the mean large-scale atmospheric pressure patterns for April-May of those years.

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