A review of early life history dynamics of Barents Sea cod (Gadus morhua)

Geir Ottersen et al. in ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Geir OttersenBjarte Bogstad, Natalia A. Yaragina, Leif Christian Stige, Frode B. Vikebø and Padmini Dalpadado


The Barents Sea stock of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is currently the world's largest cod stock. It is also a stock for which long time-series are available and much research has been carried out. With this review, we wish to present an overview and evaluation of the knowledge on Barents Sea cod early life dynamics. The focus is on the effects of the biotic and abiotic drivers, which jointly determine the strength of a year class. A stage-by-stage approach is employed. We summarize and assess the significance of the different processes described in the literature to be at play during each specific life stage, from spawning stock, through eggs, larvae, and pelagic juvenile, to demersal juvenile and recruitment at age 3. Also Russian work is included, some of which until now has not been available to non-Russian readers. Physical drivers examined include sea temperature, advection and dispersal, wind-induced turbulence, and light. Biotic mechanisms studied range from maternal effects and skipped spawning in the adult stock through egg quantity and quality, to prey availability for the larvae and effects of cannibalism on the juveniles. Finally, we evaluate the main hypotheses put forth by Johan Hjort a hundred years ago in the light of our synthesis of present knowledge. A main conclusion is that it is unlikely that there is any one single life stage during which recruitment with any generality is determined.

First published online: 1 April 2014

Tags: ICES Journal of Marine Science;
Published Apr. 30, 2014 1:27 PM - Last modified May 9, 2014 10:27 AM