The Agulhas Current ecosystem with particular reference to dispersal of fish larvae
Beckley, L.E. (1998) The Agulhas Current ecosystem with particular reference to dispersal of fish larvae. In: Sherman, K., Okemwa, E.N. and Ntiba, M.J., (eds.) Large marine ecosystems of the Indian Ocean: Assessment, sustainability, and management. Blackwell Science, Malden, MA (USA), pp. 255-276.
The dominant large-scale oceanographic feature along the east coast of southern Africa is the Agulhas Current Ecosystem, a western boundary current that forms part of the anticyclonic Indian Ocean gyre. The average course of the core of the current, which flows southward at speeds greater than 1 m/sec, follows the edge of the continental shelf, moving further from the coast as the shelf widens to form the extensive Agulhas Bank off the southern tip of Africa. Several studies have suggested that the Agulhas Current Ecosystem is responsible for the dispersal of the early life history stages of various fish species, and to test this hypothesis, three cruises were conducted in the southwest Indian Ocean during 1990 and 1991. Spatial and temporal oceanographic features of the region are presented and correlated with composition and abundance of the ichthyoplankton assemblages. In general, concentration of larvae decreased offshore, and there were marked differences in ichthyoplankton composition between stations on the continental shelf and offshore in the Agulhas Current Ecosystem. Larvae of clupeoids, myctophids, and some economically important perciform families are considered, and their observed distribution patterns related to possible dispersal mechanisms.
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