Oceanic spawning migration of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla)

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Kim Aarestrup, Denmark
  • Finn Okland, Denmark
  • Michael M Hansen
  • David Righton, Denmark
  • Patrik Gargan, Denmark
  • Martin Castonguay, Denmark
  • Louis Bernatchez, Denmark
  • Paul Howey, Denmark
  • Henrik Sparholt, Denmark
  • Michael I Pedersen, Denmark
  • Robert S McKinley, Denmark
European eels (Anguilla anguilla) undertake a approximately 5000-kilometer (km) spawning migration from Europe to the Sargasso Sea. The larvae are transported back to European waters by the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift. However, details of the spawning migration remain unknown because tracking eels in the Atlantic Ocean has, so far, eluded study. Recent advances in satellite tracking enable investigation of migratory behavior of large ocean-dwelling animals. However, sizes of available tags have precluded tracking smaller animals like European eels. Here, we present information about the swimming direction, depth, and migratory behavior of European eels during spawning migration, based on a miniaturized pop-up satellite archival transmitter. Although the tagging experiment fell short of revealing the full migration to the Sargasso Sea, the data covered the first 1300 km and provided unique insights.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience
Volume325
Issue5948
Pages (from-to)1660
Number of pages1
ISSN0036-8075
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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