AOML
NOAA

Oceans and Ecosystems

Physical Oceanography and Fisheries

Bluefin tuna Monitoring

A collaboration between AOML/PhOD and SEFSC in Fisheries Oceanography

Researchers with AOML's Physical Oceanography Division (PhOD) conduct a collaborative effort with NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), focusing on the investigation of the link between the ocean and stock assessment of species with relevant commercial importance.

Mesoscale features and other oceanographic parameters have been shown to influence the distribution of larvae from different fish species in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), bluefin tuna among them. Research has shown that sea surface temperature, and location of mesoscale features are closely associated with the distribution of bluefin tuna larvae during the spring, and of other species

For more information, please contact Ricardo Domingues

The BFT_Index

In a study published on Fisheries Oceanography in 2016 (Domingues et al., 2016), a dimensionless indice to monitor and assess the location of areas with favorable conditions for occurrence of bluefin tuna larvae in the GOM during spring was implemented, the BFT_Index. This index was then used to evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of areas with favorable environmental conditions for larvae within the GOM during 1993–2011.

The BFT_Index combines information about sea surface temperature, and type of mesoscale feature using satellite observations.

The main findings from this study revealed that:

  • the BFT_Index successfully captures the spatial and temporal variability in the in situ occurrence of bluefin tuna larvae
  • areas with favorable environmental conditions for larvae in the GOM exhibit year-to-year spatial and temporal variability linked with mesoscale ocean features and sea surface temperature
  • comparison of the BFT_Index derived variability with recruitment of age-0 fish estimated from recent stock assessment indicates that changes in environmental conditions may drive a relevant component (~58%) of the recruitment variability.

Real-time maps of BFT_Index, and derived quantities, is made available through this website. Please use the left menu to navigate

References

Domingues, R., G. Goni, F. Bringas, B. Muhling, D. Lindo-Atichati, and J. Walter (2016). Variability of preferred environmental conditions for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larvae in the Gulf of Mexico during 1993-2011. Fisheries Oceanography, 25(3): 320-336.

Lindo-Atichati, D., Bringas, F., Goni, G., Muhling, B., Muller-Karger, F.E. and Habtes, S. (2012) Varying mesoscale structures influence larval fish distribution in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 463:245-257.

Muhling, B.A., Lamkin, J.T. and Roffer, M.A. (2010) Predicting the occurrence of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) Fish. Oceanogr.Preferred environmental conditions for Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae larvae in the northern Gulf of Mexico: building a classification model from archival data. Fish Oceanogr. 2(19):526-539.