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Small-scale spatial and temporal heterogeneity in growth and condition of juvenile fish on sandy beaches

Small-scale spatial and temporal heterogeneity in growth and condition of juvenile fish on sandy beaches
Small-scale spatial and temporal heterogeneity in growth and condition of juvenile fish on sandy beaches
To characterize fine-grained heterogeneity in the functional role of sandy beaches as fish nurseries, we measured RNA concentration, DNA concentration and RNA-predicted growth rate in young-of-the-year European plaice Pleuronectes platessa L. (‘YOY plaice’) at beaches on the western side of the British Isles at small alongshore (100–500 m), temporal (days to weeks), depth (0.5–2 m below waterline) and inter-individual scales. We compared variations in these nucleic-acid-based metrics of condition and growth with a null metric (total length) considered to be less responsive to short-term changes in environmental conditions. All four metrics varied at small spatial and temporal scales, particularly RNA-based metrics of short-term condition and growth. A decline in condition and growth during summer was the most important source of temporal variation. Condition and growth also increased with depth below waterline. Alongshore variations within a beach were relatively small, but variance among stations on the same beach (500 m scale) was similar in magnitude to variance among beaches separated by 100 km. High variance in nucleic acid concentrations among samples resulted not only from technical error but also from inter-individual variation. Our application of high-resolution biochemical indices therefore demonstrates that functional roles of sandy beaches can be structured at remarkably small spatial (500 m) and temporal (days) scales, within a single beach.
Flatfish nursery, Habitat heterogeneity, Individual growth, RNA:DNA, Sandy beach, Scale dependence
0022-0981
346-359
Ciotti, Benjamin J.
034551e4-d770-4cd2-80cc-b95c677938d2
Targett, Timothy E.
97f9fce4-ce29-4156-b466-0df128381a55
Nash, Richard D.M.
37318edc-c465-4e84-bf0a-b0094b559c6e
Burrows, Michael T.
a38026ff-26eb-4a99-8cdd-34bf6b9b479d
Ciotti, Benjamin J.
034551e4-d770-4cd2-80cc-b95c677938d2
Targett, Timothy E.
97f9fce4-ce29-4156-b466-0df128381a55
Nash, Richard D.M.
37318edc-c465-4e84-bf0a-b0094b559c6e
Burrows, Michael T.
a38026ff-26eb-4a99-8cdd-34bf6b9b479d

Ciotti, Benjamin J., Targett, Timothy E., Nash, Richard D.M. and Burrows, Michael T. (2013) Small-scale spatial and temporal heterogeneity in growth and condition of juvenile fish on sandy beaches. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 448, 346-359. (doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2013.08.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

To characterize fine-grained heterogeneity in the functional role of sandy beaches as fish nurseries, we measured RNA concentration, DNA concentration and RNA-predicted growth rate in young-of-the-year European plaice Pleuronectes platessa L. (‘YOY plaice’) at beaches on the western side of the British Isles at small alongshore (100–500 m), temporal (days to weeks), depth (0.5–2 m below waterline) and inter-individual scales. We compared variations in these nucleic-acid-based metrics of condition and growth with a null metric (total length) considered to be less responsive to short-term changes in environmental conditions. All four metrics varied at small spatial and temporal scales, particularly RNA-based metrics of short-term condition and growth. A decline in condition and growth during summer was the most important source of temporal variation. Condition and growth also increased with depth below waterline. Alongshore variations within a beach were relatively small, but variance among stations on the same beach (500 m scale) was similar in magnitude to variance among beaches separated by 100 km. High variance in nucleic acid concentrations among samples resulted not only from technical error but also from inter-individual variation. Our application of high-resolution biochemical indices therefore demonstrates that functional roles of sandy beaches can be structured at remarkably small spatial (500 m) and temporal (days) scales, within a single beach.

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More information

Published date: October 2013
Keywords: Flatfish nursery, Habitat heterogeneity, Individual growth, RNA:DNA, Sandy beach, Scale dependence
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 360283
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/360283
ISSN: 0022-0981
PURE UUID: 7e3d784e-e23d-4d76-b7de-1f6837cd7b75

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Date deposited: 03 Dec 2013 09:42
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 18:05

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Contributors

Author: Benjamin J. Ciotti
Author: Timothy E. Targett
Author: Richard D.M. Nash
Author: Michael T. Burrows

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