Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Simulated horizontal distribution of cod in four ecosystems

Two individual-based models (IBMs), one representing the North Sea and the other representing the Baltic Sea, were developed to investigate the links between cod distribution and the environment. In the North Sea model, a detailed model of seabed temperature was used to analyse the influence of differing thermal optima on the predicted distribution of cod over a full seasonal cycle. In the Baltic Sea model, a detailed model of oxygen saturation was used to determine the movement rules used by cod to select habitat during the spawning season.

The results of our IBMs have demonstrated how simple behavioural rules can result in complex distributions of individuals, and have provided insights into how much weight these rules have in the habitat selection decisions of individual cod. The models are not yet mature enough to provide comparable horizontal or vertical distributions to those observed in the wild, and so cannot yet be taken forward to predict the consequences of climate change or changes in the distribution of important prey species. However, the optimal strategies that they embody provide a valuable yardstick against which to measure real behaviours, and will help to refine behavioural hypotheses as the models themselves are refined and improved.

Reported by

CENTRE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES & AQUACULTURE SCIENCE
LOWESTOFT LABORATORY, PAKEFIELD ROAD
NR 33 0HT LOWESTOFT
United Kingdom
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