Theoretical Ecology Group

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Fish Larval Ecology

Larval fish are normally assumed to drift passively with the currents, with little influence on their horizontal dispersal trajectories. Is it possible that behaviour affect larval fish drift and recruitment success?

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 model, and found that changes on the scale of meters in vertical positioning could alter their drift trajectories substantially.

While vertical positioning is important to drift trajectories, it 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.

We have looked in detail at how turbulence and light change foraging conditions of larval fish. We work with oceanographers, larval fish ecologists and even theoretical physicists to better understand the life of small fish. Now we also work on exotic species such as tuna and anchovies.

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 ]
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 ]
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 ]
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 ]
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 ]
Pécseli HL, Trulsen J, Fiksen Ø. 2010.
Moving in turbulent waters: an analytical model and a numerical test
Progress in Oceanography. 85: 171-179.
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 ]
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 ]
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 ]


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
Camilla Håkonsrud Jensen
PhD Student
Judy Jinn
Christian Jørgensen
PhD Student
Tom J. Langbehn
Christian Lindemann
PhD Student
Gabriella Ljungström
Adjunct Professor
Marc Mangel
Adèle Mennerat
Anders F. Opdal
PhD student
Nicolas J. I. Rodriguez
PhD Student
Jacqueline Weidner
PhD Student
Johanna Myrseth Aarflot