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Examination of fine-scale spatial-temporal overlap and segregation between two closely related congeners Gadus morhua and Gadus ogac in coastal Newfoundland



The spatial and temporal movement patterns of sympatric juvenile Atlantic cod Gadus morhua and Greenland cod Gadus ogac were studied using high-resolution radio-acoustic positioning in a coastal area of Newfoundland during the summers of 2009 and 2010. A total of 20 fish (10 G. ogac and 10 G. morhua) were equipped with acoustic transmitters and monitored for periods up to 23 days. Most fishes showed high site fidelity with mean residence times of 12·4 (G. morhua) and 14·4 days (G. ogac). A few individuals showed a transient use of the study area, ranging distances up to c. 4 km. Mean daily home ranges [95% kernel utilization distributions (KUDs)] and core activity areas were significantly larger for G. morhua (3·8 and 0·5 ha) than for G. ogac (2·7 and 0·3 ha). Home ranges were not related to total length (LT) for G. morhua but showed a weak positive relationship for G. ogac. Gadus morhua occupied larger areas during the day while G. ogac occupied slightly larger areas at night. Mean rates of movement for G. ogac and G. morhua ranged from 0·83 to 1·24 and 0·76 to 1·76 LT s−1, respectively, and were highest during crepuscular periods. Overall, G. morhua were wider ranging, moved at faster rates and were active throughout the diel cycle compared to G. ogac of the same size. It is suggested that differential use of space and activity periods plays an important role in the successful coexistence of these two species.

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