Empirically modelling the potential effects of changes in temperature and prey availability on the growth of cod larvae in UK shelf seas

Sophie G. Pitois, Clive J. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


It has been hypothesized that changes in zooplankton community structure over the past four decades led to reduced growth and survival of prerecruit Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and that this was a key factor underlying poor year classes, contributing to stock collapse, and inhibiting the recovery of stocks around the UK. To evaluate whether observed changes in plankton abundance, species composition and temperature could have led to periods of poorer growth of cod larvae, we explored the effect of prey availability and temperature on early larval growth using an empirical trophodynamic model. Prey availability was parameterized using species abundance data from the Continuous Plankton Recorder. Our model suggests that the observed changes in plankton community structure in the North Sea may have had less impact on cod larval growth, at least for the first 40 days following hatching, than previously suggested. At least in the short term, environmental and prey conditions should be able to sustain growth of cod larvae and environmental changes acting on this early life stage should not limit stock recovery. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1572
Number of pages14
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number9
Early online date16 Sep 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Cod
  • Continuous Plankton Recorder
  • Larval growth
  • Prey fields
  • Temperature
  • Trophodynamic model
  • UK shelf

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