U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Fish. Oceanogr.(2011) 20:4, 314–328; doi:10.1111/j.1365-2419.2011.00586.x


We conducted a statistical analysis to characterize the influence of large-scale and local environmental factors on presence-absence, concentration, and assemblage structure of larval fish within the northern California Current (NCC) ecosystem, based on samples collected at two nearshore stations along the Newport Hydrographic line off the central Oregon coast. Data from 1996 to 2005 were compared with historical data from the 1970s and 1980s to evaluate pseudo-decadal, annual, and seasonal variability. Our results indicate that the most abundant taxa from 1996 to 2005 differ from those of earlier decades. Concentrations of the dominant taxa and total larvae were generally greater in the winter ⁄ spring than summer ⁄ fall season. Using generalized additive modeling, variations in presence-absence and concentration of taxa were compared to climate indices such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Northern Oscillation Index, and the multivariate ENSO index and local environmental factors, such as upwelling, Ekman transport, and wind stress curl. Significant relationships were found for various combinations of environmental variables with lag periods ranging from 0 to 7 months. We found that the large-scale climate indices explained more of the variance in larval fish concentration and diversity than did the more local factors. Our results indicate that readily available oceanographic and climate indices can explain variations in the dominant ichthyoplankton taxa in the NCC. However, variation in response among taxa to the environmental metrics suggests additional unknown factors not included in the analysis likely contributed to the observed distribution patterns and larval fish community structure in the NCC.