Application of spatial predictive models to describe juvenile Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) distribution patterns across the Falkland Islands shelf

 

Understanding the spatial and temporal distribution patterns in a species is important for the identification of critical habitats, the delineation of hotspots, and the use of this information for the design of effective conservation and management strategies. This is particularly important for the protection of species during vulnerable life-history stages. During their juvenile life history stage, Patagonian toothfish exhibit high levels of spatial and temporal variability in their abundance and distribution patterns along the Falkland Islands shelf. The extent to which this variability is a result of recruitment or habitat based oceanographic variables remains uncertain. In this study, spatial and spatial-temporal models are being implemented within a hierarchical Bayesian framework to estimate what ecological and oceanographic processes are driving the (1) occurrence and; (2) abundance of age-structured juvenile toothfish populations across the Falkland Islands Shelf. Further, spatial-temporal patterns are being assessed to (3) identify particular areas of importance and (4) the spatial dynamism of these areas over time.

This study is being undertaken to address Objective #3 of the scientific plan, namely studies on the distribution and migration of juvenile toothfish on the Falkland Shelf.

       Scientists

          Brendon Lee

          Alexander Arkhipkin

          Haseeb Randhawa

 

       Associated institutes

          Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science,

          Rhodes University

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