Defense Date

4-29-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Marine Science

First Advisor

Tamara Frank

Second Advisor

Joana Figueiredo

Third Advisor

Tracey Sutton

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the geographical (near-slope vs. offshore) and temporal analyses (2011 – 2018) of the Sergestidae assemblage, the crustacean family with the fourth highest total biomass, in the Gulf of Mexico near the location of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The abundance and biomass of the assemblage were analyzed to determine if statistical differences were present between the near-slope and offshore environments. In addition, this study analyzed the vertical distributions of sergestid species in the epipelagic, mesopelagic, and bathypelagic zones to determine the extent of the migratory behavior of these species. Lastly, the abundance and biomass in the offshore environment between 2011 and 2018 were analyzed. There are no data on the sergestid assemblage in this area before the oil spill, so 2011 served as a contaminated baseline against which data from 2015-2018 samples were compared. The results of this study demonstrate that the sergestid biomass at near-slope stations was significantly higher than at offshore stations. In addition, the temporal analysis shows that the sergestid assemblage decreased significantly in abundance and biomass between 2011 and 2015-2018. Both the geographical and the temporal results provide data that are crucial for future study efforts and trends pertaining to these species.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-8551-9738

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