Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Influence of coastal eddies and counter-currents on the influx of spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, postlarvae into Florida Bay

Cynthia Yeung, David L. Jones, Maria M. Criales, Thomas L. Jackson and William. J. Richards

Marine and Freshwater Research 52(8) 1217 - 1232
Published: 25 January 2002


Postlarvae of the spiny lobster Panulirus argus migrate from offshore in the Florida Keys into their juvenile habitat in Florida Bay through interisland channels. The influx of postlarvae was monitored monthly over the new-moon period at Long Key and Whale Harbor channels (July 1997–June 1999). Although the channels were only 30 km apart, their influx patterns differed. At Long Key, influx peaked every 2–3 months, whereas at Whale Harbor the peaks were in winter and of higher magnitudes. The influx pattern at Long Key was highly correlated with the strength of coastal counter-current flow in the two-week period prior to sampling. Countercurrent flow was correlated with alongshore (upstream) wind stress, but the latter was not a significant predictor of postlarval influx. Coastal counter-current flow is hypothesized to indicate the presence of a cyclonic, mesoscale eddy offshore. Satellite imagery confirmed the presence of these eddies offshore of the Middle Florida Keys often when positive postlarval influx and counter-current anomalies were observed. These eddies can facilitate onshore larval transport, and their variable temporal and spatial properties can cause transport variability over a scale of several tens of kilometres along the Keys.

© CSIRO 2002

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