DEEPEND: Preliminary Results of Cephalopod Vertical Migration Patterns in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, LA, February 6-9, 2017

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Cephalopods are important in midwater ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) as both predator and prey. Vertical distribution and diel migration patterns are not known for the majority of deep-water cephalopods. These varying patterns are of interest as they have the potential to contribute to the movement of large amounts of nutrients and contaminants through the water column during diel migrations. Two recent studies focusing on the deep water column on the GOM (2011 Offshore Nekton Sampling and Acoustics Program (ONSAP) and 2015-2017 Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico (DEEPEND)) project, produced a combined dataset of over 12,500 midwater-cephalopod records for the northern GOM region. Cephalopod vertical distribution patterns will be highlighted from the ONSAP and DEEPEND cruises which utilized a Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS). Species accounts include those with synchronous (e.g. Pterygioteuthis sp.) and asynchronous (e.g. Stigmatoteuthis arcturi) vertical migration. Non-migration patterns of various midwater cephalopods (e.g. Vampyroteuthis infernalis) are also highlighted.


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