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Factors affecting the spawning period of sardine in two highly oligotrophic Seas
Ganias, K.; Somarakis, S.; Koutsikopoulos, C.; Machias, A. (2007). Factors affecting the spawning period of sardine in two highly oligotrophic Seas. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(4): 1559-1569.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Ganias, K.
  • Somarakis, S.
  • Koutsikopoulos, C.
  • Machias, A.

    Ovarian histology and weight dynamics of reproductive and somatic tissues were used to investigate seasonality of spawning and factors affecting reproductive period in two E Mediterranean sardine, Sardina pilchardus, populations (central Aegean and Ionian Seas), between September 1999 and May 2001. Despite similarities in the general spawning pattern of the two populations, i.e. protracted spawning season during the colder months of the year, reproductive period in the Ionian was shorter and lagged behind the Aegean by 2–3 months. In both Seas, reproductive period was influenced by body size as smaller females tended to have both shorter and delayed spawning season. Whereas hepatosomatic index (HSI) was consistently higher in reproductively active females during the whole spawning period, seasonality of spawning did not match variations of HSI. In both Seas fluctuations of HSI matched the spring burst of primary productivity and were followed by fluctuations in somatic condition and mesenteric fat by a 2 months’ lag. Somatic condition and reproductive activity displayed inverse seasonal patterns, implying that egg production in sardine basically relies on visceral and muscular fat deposits, accumulated during the summer growing season. Reliance of egg production on past energetic reserves suggests that sardine is a capital breeder, which is a rather efficient strategy in such oligotrophic habitats as the E Mediterranean, where winter spawning is accompanied by a particular decline in adult preying fields.

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