Post-flexion stage larva of: 1. bluefin tuna, 2. false albacore and 3. bullet tuna. (Photo Credit: IEO)
Bluefin tuna larval ecology researched
Friday, May 17, 2013, 22:30 (GMT + 9)
A researcher at the Oceanographic Centre of Malaga of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) participates in an oceanographic survey conducted by the Southeast Fisheries Science Centre (NOAA) of the United States to collect bluefin tuna larvae and related species in the spawning area in the Gulf of Mexico.
For the second consecutive year, the Spanish scientist Raul Laíz-Carrión was invited by John Lamkin, head of Ichthyoplankton Department of NOAA.
The study began on 11 May onboard the research vessel Nancy Foster.
The goal of the oceanographic survey is a comparative study of the food chain ecology of bluefin tuna and some of the associated species. To do this, the scientists expect to collect larvae of bluefin tuna and of related species that they will keep as frozen specimens onboard the ship.
The larvae will be taken to the laboratory, where they will be measured, frozen-dried and weighed to analyze their content in stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon, the IEO reported.
In addition, microzooplankton and mesozooplankton samples will be taken to define the food chain route involved in the early stages of life of the bluefin tuna larvae.
This research complements a study to be conducted in the spawning habitat of bluefin tuna in waters of the Balearic Sea during next June.
The National Plan Atame project will make it possible to investigate the food chain network involved in the early stages of development of bluefin tuna and of the competing resources in each tuna breeding ecosystem.
Furthermore, last January a team of Spanish scientists discovered that there is a clear relationship between the bluefin tuna spawning zones in the Mediterranean and the oceanographic structures.
This is one of the main conclusions of a study on the regional spatial scale distribution of the spawning grounds of three tuna species having the highest economic importance in the Mediterranean: bluefin, albacore and bullet tuna.
The research was conducted by a team of researchers from the Balearic Oceanographic Centre of the IEO, in collaboration with the Coastal Observation System of the Balearic Islands (ICTS SOCIB) and the University of Corvallis in Oregon (US).
- Oceanographic structures condition bluefin tuna spawning in the Mediterranean
By Analia Murias