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Images: Jolien Goossens & VLIZ ©


European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) are strong swimmers, found in a variety of habitats from the Mediterranean to the North East Atlantic. In summer, the opportunistic predator roams in coastal waters, lagoons, estuaries, rivers and ports. During winter, seabass in the North East Atlantic have been shown to undertake migrations to warmer, deeper waters. In the North Sea however, their movements throughout the year largely remain obscure. In light of the critical stock status, this study aims to understand seabass habitat use in Belgian waters during summer and migration patterns in winter.

From 2018 to 2020, over 120 seabass are tagged with Acoustic Data Storage Tags (ADST). These acoustic transmitters can be detected on the Permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network. Using depth and temperature measurements stored on the tag itself, migration trajectories are reconstructed with a geolocation model. Therefore, the combined acoustic and archival features allow to study vertical and horizontal movement patterns at various spatiotemporal scales.

Contact person: Jolien Goossens