Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 4 (2009)

Horizontal distribution of invertebrate larvae around the oceanic island of Gran Canaria: the effect of mesoscale variability

José María Landeira
Departamento de Biología Animal, UDI Ciencias Marinas, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

Fernando Lozano-Soldevilla
Departamento de Biología Animal, UDI Ciencias Marinas, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

Santiago Hernández-León
Laboratorio de Oceanografía Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Eric Desmond Barton
Departamento de Oceanoloxía, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Spain


In October 1991, the horizontal distribution of invertebrate larvae was studied in the waters surrounding the island of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). The cruise was typified by the presence of three recurrent mesoscale hydrographic structures: a cyclonic eddy southwest of the island, a warm lee region downstream of the island and the offshore boundary of an upwelling filament from the African coast reaching the southeast of the island. Decapod larvae were the most abundant group. In general, a rather high spatial variability was found. The horizontal distribution of the invertebrate larvae groups showed that the highest values of abundance occurred in an elongated zone around the island oriented in the overall direction of flow, leeward and windward of the island, while the lowest values occurred off the eastern and western flanks of the islands. On the other hand, Stomatopoda and Mollusca larvae showed a distribution associated with the boundary of the upwelling filament and decapod larvae of pelagic species were distributed around the eddy structure. Our results suggest specific retention mechanisms for the larvae of neritic invertebrate populations that are related to the particular physical oceanography around Gran Canaria.


invertebrate larvae; decapod larvae; abundance; mesoscale variability; Canary Islands

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