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Spatiotemporal Variability of Micronekton at Two Central North Pacific Fronts

May 30, 2023

Results of a study showed a significant positive effect of the Subtropical Front on micronekton biomass.

The North Pacific Subtropical Frontal Zone (STFZ) seasonally brings together economically important fish and protected species. The combination of top predators is thought to be a response to convergent flow at the prominent thermohaline Subtropical Front (STF) in the STFZ and a sharp northward increase in primary productivity, the Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF), which is thought to link primary productivity to top predators via secondary and tertiary consumers.

Given existing data gaps in our knowledge on forage biomass, distribution, and composition in the area, characteristics of micronekton, forage for top predators, were investigated using in situ multi-frequency active acoustics from three springtime shipboard surveys conducted along the 158°W meridional. The effects of STF and TZCF on micronekton was accessed using in situ CTD profiles.

Results of this study showed a significant positive effect of the STF on micronekton biomass. The acoustic data implied that the STF also acted as a boundary for the distribution of micronekton with differing taxonomic composition from south to its north. The TZCF, as well as Chl-a concentrations, did not show a significant effect on micronekton relative biomass or composition that might be due to effects of larger-scale variability masked in the in situ data. Contrary to expectation, significantly higher relative micronekton biomass was associated with higher temperatures, the mechanisms of which still need to be determined.

Domokos R. 2023. Spatiotemporal variability of micronekton at two central North Pacific Fronts. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers,104076.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2023.104076

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 05/30/2023