Larval Fish Identification and Abundance

Morgan Busby and Janet Duffy-Anderson

Objectives – (1) Describe the horizontal distribution, abundance and community assemblage structure of early life stages of all fish species, (2) understand the functional relationship between the prey fields for larval and juvenile fish in the Chukchi Sea, (3) compare larval fish data to acoustically collected data on zooplankton distribution and with fish data collected from midwater trawls to provide more information on production and pelagic nursery areas for larval and juvenile fishes in the Chukchi Sea, (4) compare results to earlier research cruises (2007-2010) in the Chukchi Sea to provide information on interannual variability in distribution, abundance and assemblage structure.

The ichthyoplankton community of the Chukchi Sea has not been characterized to date. Therefore, larval fish samples from the plankton tows described under ‘zooplankton’ above will be preserved on board at each station in 5% buffered formaldehyde. All preserved samples (2012) will be sorted for fish eggs and larvae, identified to species, and measured at the Plankton Sorting and Identification Center (ZSIOP) in Szczecin, Poland. Field samples from 2013 will be archived for later processing. Identifications of processed samples will be verified in Seattle, WA for quality control. Electronic data will be stored in a relational database (IchBASE) housed at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (Eco-FOCI Program).

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