Stage-specific vertical distribution of Alaska plaice (Pleuronectes quadrituberculatus) eggs in the eastern Bering Sea

Issue:

Author(s): 
Duffy-Anderson, Janet T., Deborah M. Blood, and Kathryn L. Mier
Cover date: 
2011
Pages: 
162–169
Abstract: 

The stage-specific distribution of Alaska plaice (Pleuronectes quadrituberculatus) eggs in the southeastern Bering Sea was examined with collections made in mid-May in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006. Eggs in the early stages of development were found primarily offshore of the 40-m isobath. Eggs in the middle and late stages of development were found inshore and offshore of the 40-m isobath. There was some evidence that early-stage eggs occur deeper in the water column than late-stage eggs, although year-to-year variability in that trend was observed. Most eggs were in the later stages of development; therefore the majority of spawning is estimated to have occurred a few weeks before collection—probably April—and may be highly synchronized among local spawning areas. Results indicate that sampling with continuous underway fish egg collectors (CUFES) should be supplemented with sampling of the entire water column to ensure adequate samples of all egg stages of Alaska plaice. Data presented offer new information on the stage-dependent horizontal and vertical distribution of Alaska plaice eggs in the Bering Sea and provide further evidence that the early life history stages of this species are vulnerable to near-surface variations in hydrographical conditions and climate forcing.