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Population-regulating processes during the adult phase in flatfish
Rijnsdorp, A.D. (1994). Population-regulating processes during the adult phase in flatfish. Neth. J. Sea Res. 32(2): 207-223
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

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  • Rijnsdorp, A.D., more

Abstract
    Flatfish support major fisheries and the study of regulatory processes are of paramount importance for evaluating the resilience of the resource to exploitation. This paper reviews the evidence for processes operating during the adult phase that may 1. generate interannual variability in recruitment; 2. contribute to population regulation through density-dependent growth, density-dependent ripening of adults and density-dependent egg production. With regard to (1), there is evidence that in the adult phase processes do occur that may generate recruitment variability through variation in size-specific fecundity, contraction of spawning season, reduction in egg quality, change in sex ratio and size composition of the adult population. However, time series of recruitment do not provide support for this hypothesis. With regard to (2), there is ample evidence that exploitation of flatfish coincides with an increase in growth, although the mechanisms involved are not always clear. The presence of density-dependent growth in the adult phase of unexploited populations appears to be the most likely explanation in some cases. From the early years of exploitation of flatfish stocks inhabiting cold waters, evidence exists that adult fish do not spawn each year. Fecundity schedules show annual variations, but the available information suggests that size-specific fecundity is stable over a broad range of population abundance and may only decrease at high population abundance. The analysis is complicated by the possibility of a trade-off between egg numbers and egg size. Nevertheless, a density-dependent decrease in growth will automatically result in a decrease in absolute fecundity because of the reduced body size. The potential contribution of these regulatory effects on population regulation is explored. Results indicate that density-dependent ripening and absolute fecundity, mediated through density-dependent growth, may control recruitment at high levels of population abundance. The effect of a density-dependent decrease in size-specific fecundity seems to play a minor role, although this role may become important at extremely high levels of population abundance.

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