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Bibliography of the Maurice Lamontagne Institute

Caroline MARCHAND

MARCHAND, C., Y. SIMARD, Y. GRATTON, 1999. Concentration of capelin (Mallotus villosus) in tidal upwelling fronts at the head of the Laurentian Channel in the St. Lawrence Estuary. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 56 : 1832-1848 .

In 1994 and 1995, continuous monitoring of physical characteristics and echo integration were used to detect aggregations of capelin (Mallotus villosus) in the upper water column in relation to thermal fronts and to examine the tidal dynamics in an intense upwelling area at the head of the Laurentian Channel. During the four cruises, fish aggregations were recorded for 72 % of the fronts (n=61) resulting from the periodic upwelling of cold waters. Over the tidal cycle, only a low fish biomass was detected when the cold intermediate waters (< 2 °C) upwelled during high tide; 90 % of the 2-year-old capelin biomass was detected in water temperatures greater than 2 °C. Capelin zooplankton prey were concentrated primarily over the deep Laurentian Channel, with very small numbers being found in the shallower areas nearby, where the fronts occurred. The prey concentrations did not increase at the fronts at any phase of the tidal cycle. The few zooplankton patches detected by the optical plankton counter did not correspond to either physical structures or fish concentrations. The gut fullness index and the stomach contents of the capelin caught in fronts did not differ from those of capelin caught elsewhere. These frontal aggregations of capelin seem therefore to be driven more by a threshold response to low temperatures than by trophic interactions based on a higher prey density.