Marine Biology

, Volume 145, Issue 5, pp 959–970 | Cite as

Buoyancy measurements and vertical distribution of eggs of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus)

  • S. H. CoombsEmail author
  • G. Boyra
  • L. D. Rueda
  • A. Uriarte
  • M. Santos
  • D. V. P. Conway
  • N. C. Halliday
Research Article


Measurements were made of the density and settling velocity of eggs of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus), using a density-gradient column. These results were related to observed vertical distributions of eggs obtained from stratified vertical distribution sampling in the Bay of Biscay. Eggs of both species had slightly positive buoyancy in local seawater throughout most of their development until near hatching, when there was a marked increase in density and they became negatively buoyant. The settling velocity of anchovy eggs, which are shaped as prolate ellipsoids, was close to predictions for spherical particles of equivalent volume. An improved model was developed for prediction of the settling velocity of sardine eggs, which are spherical with a relatively large perivitelline volume; this incorporated permeability of the chorion and adjustment of the density of the perivitelline fluid to ambient seawater. Eggs of both species were located mostly in the top 20 m of the water column, in increasing abundance towards the surface. A sub-surface peak of egg abundance was sometimes observed at the pycnocline, particularly where this was pronounced and associated with a low-salinity surface layer. There was a progressive deepening of the depth distributions for successive stages of egg development. Results from this study can be applied for improved plankton sampling of sardine and anchovy eggs and in modelling studies of their vertical distribution.


Vertical Distribution Settling Velocity Prolate Ellipsoid Japanese Anchovy Sardina Pilchardus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded, in part, by the EU PELASSES program 99/010 for improved stock estimation of sardine and anchovy. The authors acknowledge the assistance of the ship’s personnel and scientists in carrying out the sampling on the R.V. “Investigador” and for the subsequent LHPR sample analysis, particularly P. Alvarez, I. Martin and B. Beldarrain. D. Checkly kindly provided the Denny (1993) reference. All experimental procedures complied with EU statutory legislation on animal welfare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. H. Coombs
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. Boyra
    • 2
  • L. D. Rueda
    • 2
  • A. Uriarte
    • 2
  • M. Santos
    • 2
  • D. V. P. Conway
    • 1
  • N. C. Halliday
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biological AssociationPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Fundación AZTIPortualdeaSpain

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