Distribution of demersal fish in the south-western Barents Sea
AbstractThe composition of the demersal fish fauna of the Barents Sea, and the ranges of most of the fish species, have been relatively poorly known. From 257 bottom trawl hauls distributed in a uniform grid pattern over the southwestern part of the Barents Sea in summer 2000, all fish were identified. The sampled area included the Polar Front zone where warm Atlantic water meets cold (subzero) polar water. The material was used to map the distribution of the demersal fish species, and to analyse their distribution in relation to temperature, depth and salinity. Fifty-eight species were recorded. A fauna characterized by Gadidae and Scorpaenidae was found in the warmer part of the sea, whereas a cold-water fauna of mainly Cottidae, Zoarcidae and Stichaeidae was evident from the Polar Front zone and northwards. In logistic regression analyses temperature was the most important factor associated with the distribution of species (for 26 of the 27 species analysed), but associations with salinity (19 species) and depth (15 species) were also found. The mapping considerably revised the distribution in relation to previous knowledge for 37 species, and the new and more accurate range maps provided here may serve as baseline information for future monitoring of the fish fauna in the Barents Sea.
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