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Determination of Plaice lifetime movements in the North Sea by linking natural and electronic data records

Objective

We aim to describe the lifetime movements of plaice, Pleuronectes plates, in the North Sea, by linking the geographical movements of fish tagged with electronic data storage tags (Dusts) to chemical signals simultaneously laid down in the ear-stones (eoliths) of the same fish. By linking these state of the art techniques, we aim to provide information on the population dynamics of North Sea plaice, which would be otherwise unattainable using conventional methods. Dusts allow continuous records to be made of ambient conditions experienced by free-swimming fish in their natural environment. To date, we have used tidal (depth) data to reconstruct the migrations of 165 plaice from returned Dusts, for periods of up to 512 days. Plaice independently record ambient conditions throughout their lifetime by the accretion of various chemicals on the eolith. Matching the recorded migrations with the chemical signals from the eolith may allow the retrospective positioning of the fish in space & time throughout its life. We will examine the eoliths from around 80 DST-tagged plaice, using stable isotope analysis to characterise annual migration routes. This process should for the first time allow interpretation of the migration history of the plaice prior to tagging & determination of the time and source of recruitment, thereby linking studies of pre- and post recruitment fish behaviour. By implementing this work as an intra-European fellowship, we are providing the opportunity for a researcher with a proven track record in ecology, otolithology and stable isotope analysis, to refine and develop existing techniques & to advance to the forefront of the field. The results of this study have the potential to improve the parameterisation of assessment methods currently applied in fisheries management, and will therefore feed directly into management advice designed to promote sustainability, thereby contributing to the social and economic well-being of the EU\'s fishing regions

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-MOBILITY-5
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Coordinator

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS ACTING THROUGH THE CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE SCIENCE
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Pakefield Road
Lowestoft, Suffolk
United Kingdom