National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2011

Influence of mesoscale eddies on ichthyoplankton assemblages in the Gulf of Alaska

Atwood, E., J.T. Duffy-Anderson, J.K. Horne, and C. Ladd

Fish. Oceanogr., 19(6), 493-507, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2010.00559.x (2010)

Mesoscale eddies (100–200 km in diameter) propagating along the shelf-break in the Gulf of Alaska are ubiquitous and have been shown to influence the ecosystem, but their influence on ichthyoplankton species composition and diversity has not been described. Evidence for larval fish entrainment in these eddies was examined using data from a cruise in 2005 that sampled three eastern Gulf of Alaska mesoscale eddies, and sampling that compared shelf to slope ichthyoplankton assemblages in the northern Gulf of Alaska (2002–2004). Hierarchical cluster analysis of oceanographic data showed that stations grouped according to location within an eddy. Species hierarchical cluster analysis revealed a latitudinal turnover in species composition, and an abundant species group. Species richness was correlated with distance from eddy center (P = 0.00025), and assemblages within eddies were significantly different (P < 0.05) from those in surrounding basin and shelf waters. These results suggest that mesoscale eddies propagating along the continental shelf-break influence larval fish assemblages over the shelf and slope, which has implications for the timing and extent of larval fish distribution in the Gulf of Alaska.

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