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These studies will help to deepen knowledge of the biology and ecology of the bluefin tuna in all phases of its life cycle. (Photo: IEO)

IEO researchers lead to study bluefin tuna larval ecology

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Saturday, July 15, 2017, 00:10 (GMT + 9)

Once again, a research survey has been carried out to study the larval ecology of bluefin tuna in the Balearic Sea.

This project was initiated in 2001 by researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) to respond to the demand of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) on the need to deepen knowledge of the biology and ecology of the species in all phases of its life cycle.

From June 26 to July 12, on board the SOCIB vessel belonging to the ICTS System of Coastal Prediction and Observation of the Balearic Islands (SOCIB), a scientific team formed by 12 researchers, led by Francisco Alemany of the Balearic Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands of the IEO, has carried out BLUEFIN 06-2017 research survey.

Throughout this season, oceanographic parameters were recorded using various sensors and samples of water and plankton were collected. The objective was to elaborate models of breeding sites and larval survival level and to obtain indexes that allow the estimation of the bluefin tuna breeding stock for use in the evaluation process of the species and thus contribute to the good management of the resource and its sustainability.

During the survey, a hundred stations were systematically sampled, covering a large part of the Balearic Sea, one of the main bluefin tuna breeding areas in the world, from the waters of Mallorca and the Pitiusas Islands to the archipelago of Cabrera and Menorca.

The information obtained will also allow a deeper understanding of the trophic ecology and genetic structure of the larval populations of bluefin tuna and related species in the Balearic Sea.

These studies are being carried out within the framework of a competitive National R&D&i Plan in collaboration with researchers from the US National Agency for the Atmosphere and the Oceans (NOAA), which carry out similar studies in the Gulf of Mexico.

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