Ocean Sci. Discuss., 10, 1765-1806, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).
Numerical modelling of physical processes governing larval transport in the Southern North Sea
M. C. H. Tiessen1, L. Fernard2, T. Gerkema1, J. van der Molen2, P. Ruardij1, and H. W. van der Veer1
1Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
2Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK

Abstract. A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model (GETM) was coupled with a particle tracking routine (GITM) to study the inter-annual variability in transport paths of particles in the North Sea and English Channel. For validation, a comparison with observed drifter trajectories was made. The aim was to investigate to what extent variability in the hydrodynamic conditions alone (reflecting passive particle transport) contributed to inter-annual variability in transport of eggs and larvae. In this idealized study, no a-priori selection of spawning grounds or periods was made and no active behaviour (vertical migration) or mortality were included. Egg and larval development towards coastal nursery areas was based solely on sea water temperature, while settlement areas were defined by a threshold water depth. Results showed strong inter-annual variability in drift direction and distance, caused by a combination of wind speed and direction. Strong inter-annual variability was observed both in absolute amount of settlement in coastal areas, as well as in the relative importance of the different areas. Settlement in the western Dutch Wadden Sea not only showed inter-annual variability, but patterns were also variable within each year and revealed seasonal changes in the origin of particles.

Citation: Tiessen, M. C. H., Fernard, L., Gerkema, T., van der Molen, J., Ruardij, P., and van der Veer, H. W.: Numerical modelling of physical processes governing larval transport in the Southern North Sea, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 10, 1765-1806, doi:10.5194/osd-10-1765-2013, 2013.
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