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Research article2015Peer reviewed

The migration behaviour of European silver eels (Anguilla anguilla) released in open ocean conditions

Wysujack, K; Westerberg, Håkan; Aarestrup, K; Trautner, J; Kurwie, T; Nagel, F; Hanel, R


Despite some recent progress, there are still large gaps of knowledge about migration routes and behaviour of European eels, Anguilla anguilla, during their long-distance oceanic migration. To achieve a better understanding of the migration behaviour, 28 large female silver eels were equipped with pop-up satellite transmitters and released at three different locations in the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean and in the Sargasso Sea. The study covers tracking periods between 7 and 92 days. The distance between release point and estimated pop-up position ranged from 40 to 1000km, the mean minimum migration speeds from 1.5 to 17.0km day(-1). The eels consistently conducted distinct diel vertical movements (DVM) with daily amplitudes of more than 300m and maximum diving depths of more than 1000m. Eels released in the Sargasso Sea used greater depths and a broader temperature range than individuals released in the Atlantic Ocean closer to the European continent. At least two eels were clearly preyed upon. The transmitters ascended in a considerable range of directions from the release points. Hence, the results of the study did not allow clear conclusions about the detailed location of the spawning site and on the routes of the eels to the spawning grounds.


diel vertical movements; pop-up satellite tags; spawning migration

Published in

Marine and freshwater research
2015, Volume: 66, number: 2, pages: 145-157

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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