Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Marine Science

First Advisor

Rosanna Milligan

Second Advisor

Tracey Sutton

Third Advisor

Matthew Johnston


Myctophids; Diel Vertical Migration; Carbon Flux; Ecosystem Models; Gulf of Mexico


Carbon flux, the transport of carbon from the epipelagic zone (0 m – 200 m) to the mesopelagic zone (200 m -1000 m), can be facilitated by migratory fauna. Myctophids, likely comprising the highest biomass of migratory mesopelagic fishes across all oceans, play an important role in carbon flux. Myctophids undergo diel vertical migration (DVM) from the mesopelagic zone to the epipelagic zone. The amount of carbon transported by myctophids, through DVM, can be estimated by modeling all the bioenergetic pathways that release carbon. This study will use an individual adult myctophid model, with a series of bioenergetics calculations, to determine myctophids’ influence on carbon flux in the Gulf of Mexico. The model will represent an average sized adult from three species, Lampanyctus alatus, Ceratoscopelus warmingii, and Diaphus dumerilii. The parameters will be taken from measurements collected during the DEEPEND - ONSAP research projects and existing literature. The results show that the total carbon flux contribution of an individual average sized adult L. alatus can range from 0.046 mg C d-1 – 5.65 mg C d-1, with an average of 0.62 mg C d-1. An individual average sized adult C. warmingii can contribute 0.042 mg C d-1 – 13.36 mg C d-1, with an average of 0.55 mg C d-1. An individual average sized adult D. dumerilii can range from 0.034 mg C d-1 – 13.901 mg C d-1, with an average of 0.46 mg C d-1. The metabolic and respiratory pathway had the most contribution to carbon flux, for all three species, because it included the mass parameter, which had the strongest influence. The results calculated in this paper can give a better understanding of how myctophids contribute to carbon flux in a specific region and the methods can be used to explore carbon flux contribution by mesopelagic fishes in other regions.