Presence/absence and density data for epipelagic tows from 48 stations in the northern Gulf of Mexico from R/V Blazing Seven cruises LF2015A and LF2015B June 2015 and July 2015

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2015-06-06 to 2015-07-25


Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC)




Larval catch data after the oil spill is being used to improve our understanding of the causes of temporal variability as it relates to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill (DWHOS). Bongo and neuston net tows were conducted at 48 stations in both June and July, 2015 in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Cruise data collected at each site included latitude/longitude, date, time and environmental data (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen). The occurrence and density of selected epipelagic (e.g., billfishes, tunas, dolphinfishes, flyingfishes) and deep pelagic (e.g., lanternfishes, bristlemouths, marine hatchetfishes) fish larvae were quantified and are being used to extend the pre- and post-DWHOS time series to better understand the drivers of natural variability in abundance for these taxa. Catch data are also being coupled with environmental data to identify high quality (highly suitable) habitat of each species or taxonomic group.


Epipelagic surveys conducted by DEEPEND in shelf and slope waters represent the only larval indices of abundance for many taxa in the northern Gulf of Mexico during their primary spawning period (billfishes, dolphinfishes, swordfish, tunas). Natural variability in larval abundance and occurrence is high for post-spill years, and thus expanding this time series is critical for characterizing natural variability. This survey also examined the abundance/diversity of the entire epipelagic community, including an assessment of deep pelagic larvae present in surface waters. In addition, habitat suitability models are being developed for epipelagic and deep pelagic species from 2015 collections (+ 2016 and 2017) that will ultimately be used to predict the probability of occurrence of selected taxa in future years.

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