Theoretical Ecology Group

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Fish Larval Ecology

We used to think that larval fish drift passively with the currents. Now we know that larvae steer their way by vertical movement and directional swimming.

Behaviour is a key determinant of growth-, mortality- and dispersal rates in larval fish. We explored the effects of vertical positioning of larval cod drifting in a fine-scaled general circulation models. Changes on the scale of meters in vertical positioning change their drift trajectories substantially.

Vertical habitat selection is also important for growth (temperature, light and prey availability) and predation risk from fish or invertebrates. We have proposed three key drivers of larval habitat selection: the local, immediate trade-off between growth and predation risk, the effect habitat selection has on future drift, environmental exposure and settlement area.

Turbulence and light change foraging conditions of larval fish. We collaborate with oceanographers, larval fish ecologists and even theoretical physicists to better understand the life of small fish. We also work on exotic species such as tuna and anchovies.

Reglero P, Ortega A, Balbin R, Abascal FJ, Medina A, Blanco E, de la Gándara F, Alvarez-Berastegui D, Hidalgo M, Rasmuson L, Alemany F, Fiksen Ø. 2018.
Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn at suboptimal temperatures for their offspring
Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285: 20171405. [ doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1405 ] [ pdf ]
Fouzai N, Opdal AF, Jørgensen C, Fiksen Ø. 2015.
Effects of temperature and food availability on larval cod survival: a model for behaviour in vertical gradients
Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 529: 199-212. [ doi:10.3354/meps11326 ] [ open access ]
Fiksen Ø, Opdal AF. 2015.
Optimality and rule-based models for larval fish behavior
Vie et Milieu. 65: 115-120. [ open access ] [ pdf ]
Fiksen Ø, Jørgensen C. 2011.
Model of optimal behaviour in fish larvae predicts that food availability determines survival, but not growth
Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 432: 207-219. [ doi:10.3354/meps09148 ] [ open access ] [ pdf ]
Pécseli HL, Trulsen J, Fiksen Ø. 2010.
Moving in turbulent waters: an analytical model and a numerical test
Progress in Oceanography. 85: 171-179.
Kristiansen T, Jørgensen C, Lough RG, Vikebø F, Fiksen Ø. 2009.
Modeling rule-based behavior: habitat selection and the growth-survival trade-off in larval cod
Behavioral Ecology. 20: 490-500. [ doi:10.1093/beheco/arp023 ] [ pdf ]
Urtizberea A, Fiksen Ø, Folkvord A, Irigoien X. 2008.
Modelling growth of larval anchovies including diel feeding patterns, temperature and body size
Journal of Plankton Research. 30: 1369-1383. [ doi:10.1093/plankt/fbn090 ]
Kristiansen T, Fiksen Ø, Folkvord A. 2007.
Modelling feeding, growth, and habitat selection in larval Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): observations and model predictions in a macrocosm environment\r\n
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 64: 136-151. [ pdf ]
Fiksen Ø, Jørgensen C, Kristiansen T, Vikebø F, Huse G. 2007.
Linking behavioural ecology and oceanography: larval behaviour determines growth, mortality and dispersal
Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 347: 195-205. [ doi:10.3354/meps06978 ] [ open access ] [ pdf ]
Vikebø F, Jørgensen C, Kristiansen T, Fiksen Ø. 2007.
Drift, growth and survival of larval Northeast Arctic cod with simple rules of behaviour
Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 347: 207-219\r\n. [ doi:10.3354/meps06979 ] [ open access ] [ pdf ]
Vikebø F, Sundby S, Ådlandsvik B, Fiksen Ø. 2005.
The combined effect of transport and temperature on distribution and growth of larvae and pelagic juveniles of Arcto-Norwegian cod
Ices Journal of Marine Science. 62: 1375-1386. [ pdf ]
Fiksen Ø, Mackenzie BR. 2002.
Process-based models of feeding and prey selection in larval fish
Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 243: 151-164. [ pdf ]
Fiksen Ø, Utne ACW, Aksnes DL, Eiane K, Helvik JV, Sundby S. 1998.
Modelling the influence of light, turbulence and ontogeny on ingestion rates in larval cod and herring
Fisheries Oceanography. 7: 355-363. [ pdf ]


Dag L. Aksnes
Sergey Budaev
PhD Student
Ryan J. Dillon
Associate Professor
Sigrunn Eliassen
PhD student
Johanna Fall
Group Leader, Professor
Øyvind Fiksen
PhD Student
Nadia Fouzai
Jarl Giske
PhD Student
Laura Hildesheim
PhD Student
Camilla Håkonsrud Jensen
Christian Jørgensen
PhD Student
Tom J. Langbehn
Christian Lindemann
PhD Student
Gabriella Ljungström
Adjunct Professor
Marc Mangel
Adéle Mennerat
Anders F. Opdal
PhD student
Nicolas J. I. Rodriguez
PhD Student
Jacqueline Weidner
PhD Student
Johanna Myrseth Aarflot