Larvae growth and transport
Phyto- and zooplankton forms the basis for fish population dynamics. We developed and used a spatially-explicit larval fish IBM to understand interrelations between fish early life stages and their environment.
The vast majority of fish offspring dies during the very first life stages. Its survival depends strongly on environmental factors like temperature, current fields and, of course, food. The vulnerability to unfavourable environmental conditions is not equally high during early life, but potentially critical life periods, like e.g. first feeding, have been identified. First feeding larvae need to experience a sufficient amount of zooplankton in a specific size range to survive. They have to experience proper dynamic and thermodynamic conditions after spawning to end up at suitable feeding grounds.
We developed a spatially-explicit Individual Based Model, which tracks individual fish eggs and larvae through this vulnerable life stages and is directly linked to the ecosystem model ECOSMO which provides the environmental conditions. The model allows to identify process interactions responsible for changes in larval fish survival and to investigate impacts of changing climatic conditions.