Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Marine ecology

Spring algal bloom and larval fish survival


The different factors that influence the prevalent decline in fish stocks are currently subject to urgent and intense scrutiny. Here we combine the use of remote-sensing satellite data with a long-term data set of haddock recruitment off the eastern continental shelf of Nova Scotia, Canada, to show that the survival of the larval fish depends on the timing of the local spring bloom of phytoplankton. This link has been suspected for more than 100 years, but its verification has had to wait for technology with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Interannual variations in ecosystem properties on the continental shelf to the east of southern Nova Scotia, Canada.


  1. Hjort, J. Rapp. Conserv. Explor. Mer 20, 1–228 (1914).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Cushing, D. H. in Sea Fisheries Research (ed. Harden Jones, F. R.) 399–412 (Elek Science, London, 1974).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Cushing, D. H. Adv. Mar. Biol. 26, 249–294 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Sverdrup, H. U. J. Conseil Perm. Int. Explor. Mer 18, 287–295 (1953).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Platt, T. & Sathyendranath, S. Int. Coun. Explor. Sea CM O:3 (1996).

  6. Kane, J. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 16, 9–20 (1984).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Mohn, R. K. & Simon, J. E. CSAS Res. Doc. 2002/102 (2002).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Trevor Platt.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Platt, T., Fuentes-Yaco, C. & Frank, K. Spring algal bloom and larval fish survival. Nature 423, 398–399 (2003).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing