Transport and behavior of pink shrimp Farfantepenaeus duorarum larvae were investigated on the southwestern Florida (SWF) shelf of the Gulf of Mexico between the Dry Tortugas spawning grounds and Florida Bay nursery grounds. Stratified plankton samples and hydrographic data were collected at 2 h intervals at 3 stations located on a cross-shelf transect. At the Marquesas station, midway between Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay, internal tides were recognized by anomalously cool water, a shallow thermocline with strong density gradients, strong current shear, and a high concentration of pink shrimp larvae at the shallow thermocline. Low Richardson numbers occurred at the pycnocline depth, indicating vertical shear instability and possible turbulent transport from the lower to the upper layer where myses and postlarvae were concentrated. Analysis of vertically stratified plankton suggested that larvae perform vertical migrations and the specific behavior changes ontogenetically; protozoeae were found deeper than myses, and myses deeper than postlarvae. Relative concentrations of protozoea in the upper, middle and bottom layers were consistent with a diel vertical migration, whereas that of postlarvae and myses were consistent with the semidiurnal tides in phase with the flood tide. Postlarvae, the shallowest dwellers that migrate with a semidiurnal periodicity, experienced the largest net onshore flux and larval concentrations were highly correlated with the cross-shelf current. These results provide the first evidence of an onshore tidal transport (a type of selective tidal stream transport, STST), in decapod larvae migrating in continental shelf waters offshore, ca. 100 km from the coast and at a depth of 20 m, while approaching the coastal nursery grounds. Longer time series would be necessary to establish whether internal tides play any role in the larval onshore transport of this species and determine if the STST is the dominant onshore transport mechanism. ?? Inter-Research 2007 .
Additional publication details
Cross-shelf transport of pink shrimp larvae: Interactions of tidal currents, larval vertical migrations and internal tides