Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Distribution and abundance of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) eggs in the English Channel from Continuous Plankton Recorder sampling, 1958–1980

S.H.  Coombs a1c1, N.C.  Halliday a1a2, A.J.  Southward a1 and S.J.  Hawkins a1
a1 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK
a2 Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK

Article author query
coombs sh   [Medline] [Google Scholar
halliday nc   [Medline] [Google Scholar
southward aj   [Medline] [Google Scholar
hawkins sj   [Medline] [Google Scholar


Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) samples from the English Channel and adjacent Celtic shelf, taken over the period 1958–1980, were analysed for sardine (Sardina pilchardus) eggs. Results showed the progression of sardine spawning along the English Channel from west to east from March to August and a return from east to west from September to November. This corresponds with the two seasonal peaks of sardine egg abundance in the western Channel: the main summer peak being in May/June, with a smaller autumn peak in October/November. Long-term changes in sardine egg abundance in CPR samples showed a decline in summer spawning from the late 1960s, but no clear trend in autumn-spawned egg abundance. Similar patterns were observed in the numbers of sardine eggs sampled by conventional plankton net tows at the time-series Station L5 off Plymouth. This supports the use of the longer time-series of sardine egg data at L5 as being representative of a wider area and emphasizes the importance in continuation of the L5 time-series.

(Received April 29 2005)
(Accepted July 18 2005)

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