Predictive models of the preferential distribution of demersal fish larvae in the southern part of the California Current




demersal fish larvae, environmental variables, preferred habitat, California Current


Habitat characterization provides predictive information about the distribution of species and is useful for as­sessing habitat quality and population stability. Larval abundance of six frequent and abundant demersal species and the relationship of each with the environment were analysed through generalized additive models to determine their preferential distribution and predictive response to the environmental variables in the southern part of the California Current (25-31°N) between two periods of data collection: 1997-2000 and 2006-2010. Essentially, the main associated variables governing the distribution patterns were related to common and oceanographic characteristics of the water column (temperature and salinity at 50 m depth, dynamic height and degree of water column stratification); however, the set of variables and their ranges are usually species-specific. Species of northern distribution, Sebastes sp. and Citharichtys stigmaeus, were recorded mainly in newly emerged, relatively unstratified waters characterized by a shallow mixed layer and low temperatures. Low dynamic height values were the most significant predictor of larval distribution for Merluccius productus. Citharichthys xanthostigma and Symphurus atricaudus were widespread, distributed across the study area mainly in autumn in unstratified or stratified waters and at a shallow mixed layer. Particularly C. Xanthostigma and S. Lucioceps were related to high dynamic height val­ues, likely influenced by a coastal flow towards the pole, as evidenced by counter-currents.


Download data is not yet available.


Aceves-Medina G., Jiménez-Rosenberg S.P.A., Saldierna-Martínez R.J., et al. 2018. Distribution and abundance of the ichthyo­plankton assemblages and its relationships with the geostrophic flow along the southern region of the California Current. Lat. Amer. J. Aquat. Res. 46: 104-119.

Ahlstrom E.H. 1959. Vertical distribution of pelagic fish eggs and larvae off California and Baja California. Biol. Rep. U. S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 60: 107-146.

Asch R.G., Checkley Jr. D.M. 2013. Dynamic height: A key vari­able for identifying the spawning habitat of small pelagic fishes. Deep Sea Res. Oceanogr. Part I 71: 79-91.

Austin M. 2007. Species distribution models and ecological theory: a critical assessment and some possible new approaches. Ecol. Model. 200: 1-19.

Bailey K.M. 1981. Larval transport and recruitment of Pacific hake Merluccius productus. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 6: 1-9.

Bautista-Romero J.J., Funes-Rodríguez R., Jiménez-Rosenberg S.P. et al. 2018. Preferential distribution of fish larvae in the California Current System: Time, space, and temperature. Fish. Oceanogr. 27: 259-273.

Bernal M., Stratoudakis Y., Coombs S. et al. 2007. Sardine spawn­ing off the European Atlantic coast: Characterization of and spatio-temporal variability in spawning habitat. Prog. Ocean­ogr. 74: 210-227.

Bjorkstedt E.P., Rosenfeld L.K., Grantham B.A. et al. 2002. Dis­tributions of larval rockfishes Sebastes spp. across nearshore fronts in a coastal upwelling region. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 242: 215-228.

Cass-Calay S.L. 1997. Relation of mean growth rate to concentra­tion of prey-sized particles for larvae of Pacific hake (Merluc­cius productus). Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest. Rep. 38: 69-76.

Charter S.R., Moser H.G. 1996. Cynoglossidae: Tonguefishes. In: Moser E.H. (ed.). Early stages of fishes in California Current region, Atlas 33. Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest., La Jolla CA, pp 79-81.

Checkley D.M.Jr., Asch R.A., Rykaczewski R.R. 2017. Climate, anchovy, and sardine. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 9: 469-493. PMid:28045355

Doyle M.J., Morse W.W., Kendall A.W. 1993. A comparison of larval fish assemblages in the temperate zone of the northeast Pacific and northwest Atlantic oceans. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53: 588-644.

Durazo R. 2009. Climate and upper ocean variability off Baja Cali­fornia, México: 1997-2008. Prog. Oceanogr. 83: 361-368.

Durazo R. 2015. Seasonality of the transitional region of the Cali­fornia Current System off Baja California. J. Geophys. Res., Oceans 120: 1173-1196.

Durazo R., Baumgartner T. 2002. Evolution of oceanographic con­ditions off Baja California: 1997-1999. Prog. Oceanogr. 54: 7-31.

Elith J., Leathwick J.R. 2009. Species distribution models: eco­logical explanation and prediction across space and time. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 40: 677-697.

Funes-Rodríguez R., Elorduy-Garay J.F., Hinojosa-Medina A.T. et al. 2009. Interannual distribution of Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) larvae in the southern part of the California Current. J. Fish Biol. 75: 630-646. PMid:20738561

Funes-Rodríguez R., Zárate-Villafranco A., Hinojosa-Medina A. et al. 2011. Mesopelagic fish larval assemblages during El Niño Southern Oscillation (1997-2001) in the southern part of the California Current. Fish. Oceanogr. 20: 329-346.

Ibaibarriaga L., Irigoien X., Santos M. et al. 2007. Egg and larval distributions of seven fish species in north-east Atlantic waters. Fish. Oceanogr. 16: 284-293.

Kitchens L.L., Rooker J.R. 2014. Habitat associations of dolphin­fish larvae in the Gulf of Mexico. Fish. Oceanogr. 23: 460-471.

Koslow J.A., Goericke R., Watson W. 2013. Fish assemblages in the Southern California Current: relationships with climate, 1951-2008. Fish. Oceanogr. 22: 207-219.

Lynn RJ. 2003. Variability in the spawning habitat of Pacific sar­dine (Sardinops sagax) off southern and central California. Fish. Oceanogr. 12: 541-553.

Lynn R.J., Simpson J.J. 1987. The California Current system: the seasonal variability of its physical characteristics. J. Geophys. Res. 92: 12947-12966.

Moser H.G. 1996. The Early Stages of Fishes in the California Cur­rent Region. Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest. Atlas 33, Marine Life Research Program, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla CA, 1505 pp.

Moser H.G., Boehlert G.W. 1991. Ecology of pelagic fish larvae and juveniles of the genus Sebastes. Environ. Biol. Fish. 30: 203-224.

Moser H.G., Smith P.E. 1993. Larval fish assemblages and oceanic boundaries. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53: 283-289.

Moser H.G., Smith P.E., Eber L.E. 1987. Larval fish assemblages in the California Current region, 1954-1960, a period of dynamic environmental change. Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest. Rep. 28: 97-127.

Moser H.G., Charter R.L., Smith P.E. et al. 1993. Distributional Atlas of Fish Larvae and Eggs in the California Current Region: Taxa with 1000 or More Total Larvae, 1951-1984. Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest. Atlas 31, Marine Life Research Program, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla CA, 233 pp.

Moser H.G, Lo N.C.H., Smith P.E. 1997. Vertical distribution of Pacific hake eggs in relation to stage of development and tem­perature. Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest. Rep. 38: 120-126.

Pattrick P., Strydom N.A. 2014. Larval fish variability in response to oceanographic features in a nearshore nursery area. J. Fish Biol. 85: 857-881. PMid:25082168

Peiro-Alcantar M.T., Funes-Rodríguez R., González-Armas R. et al. 2016. Spatiotemporal variability of demersal fish larvae as­semblages in the southern region of the California Current. Mar. Biol. Res. 12: 524-540.

R Core Team. 2017. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria.

Roden G.I. 1991. Subarctic-Subtropical Transition Zone of the North Pacific: Large-Scale Aspects and Mesoscale Structure. In: Wetherall J.A. (ed). Biology, Oceanography, and Fisher­ies of the North Pacific Transition Zone and Subarctic Frontal Zone. NOAA-NMFS Tech. Rep. 105: 1-38.

Sabatés A., Olivar M.P. 1996. Variation of larval fish distributions associated with variability in the location of a shelf-slope front. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 135: 11-20.

Sakuma K.M., Ralston S. 1997. Vertical and horizontal distribution of juvenile Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) in relation to hydrography off California. Calif. Coop. Ocean. Fish. Invest. Rep. 38: 137-146.

Sakuma K.M., Ralston S., Roberts D.A. 1999. Diel vertical distribu­tion of postflexion larval Citharichthys spp. and Sebastes spp. off central California. Fish. Oceanogr. 8: 68-76.

Sakuma K.M., Ralston S., Roberts D.A. 2007. High-frequency patterns in abundance of larval Pacific hake, Merluccius pro­ductus, and rockfish, Sebastes spp., at a single fixed station off central California. Fish. Oceanogr. 16: 383-394.

Simpson J.H., Brown D., Matthews G. 1990. Tidal straining, den­sity currents, and stirring in the control of estuarine stratifica­tion. Estuaries 2: 125-132.

Smith P.E., Moser H.G. 2003. Long-term trends and variability in the larvae of Pacific sardine and associated fish species of the California Current region. Deep-Sea Res. 50: 2519-2536.

Smith P.E., Richardson S.L. 1977. Standard techniques for pelagic fish and larvae surveys. FAO Tech. Pap. 175, 99 pp.

Soto-Mardones L., Parés-Sierra A., Garcia J. et al. 2004. Analy­sis of the mesoscale structure in the IMECOCAL region (off Baja California) from hydrographic, ADCP and altimetry data. Deep-Sea Res. 51: 785-798.

Valle-Rodríguez J., Trasviña-Castro A. 2017. Poleward currents from coastal altimetry: The west coast of Southern Baja Cali­fornia, Mexico. Adv. Space Res. 59: 2313-2324.

Weber E.D., McClatchie S. 2010. Predictive models of northern an­chovy Engraulis mordax and Pacific sardine Sardinops sagax spawning habitat in the California Current. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 406: 251-263.

Wood S.N. 2011. Fast stable restricted maximum likelihood and marginal likelihood estimation of semiparametric generalized linear models. J. R. Stat. Soc. 73: 3-36.



How to Cite

Peiro-Alcantar MT, Funes-Rodríguez R, Durazo R, Martínez-Rincón RO, González-Armas R, Hernández Trujillo S. Predictive models of the preferential distribution of demersal fish larvae in the southern part of the California Current. scimar [Internet]. 2020Sep.15 [cited 2023Oct.4];84(3):253-61. Available from:




Most read articles by the same author(s)