Journal Article

Diel patterns in pelagic fish behaviour and distribution observed from a stationary, bottom-mounted, and upward-facing transducer

Thomas Axenrot, Tomas Didrikas, Charlotte Danielsson and Sture Hansson

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 61, issue 7, pages 1100-1104
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.07.006
Diel patterns in pelagic fish behaviour and distribution observed from a stationary, bottom-mounted, and upward-facing transducer

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Diel variation in pelagic fish distribution influences hydroacoustic abundance estimates. To study and quantify diel patterns in behaviour and spatial distribution in pelagic fish without causing avoidance reactions or attraction to any floating equipment or vessel we used a bottom-mounted, upward-facing transducer. Light intensities were measured as skylight and underwater light (at 5-m depth). The study was performed in a coastal area in the Baltic Sea, late July to mid-August in 2001 and 2002. The results provided additional information on fish behaviour and distribution valuable for future survey planning and in the analyses of hydroacoustic data from regular surveys in this area. At night, the data on hydroacoustic backscattering (sA) were less variable, the vertical distribution of fish was more even, with fewer fish in the deepest layer, and the percentage of single-echo detections was higher. The tilt angle of fish seemed to differ day and night, but trawling and target-strength distribution results taken together also implied a partial diel change in the fish assemblage in the midwater layers. The processes of formation and disintegration of schools happened rapidly and coincided with day and night transition periods.

Keywords: diel variation; fish behaviour; stationary acoustics

Journal Article.  3043 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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