Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-3-2020

Publication Title

Frontiers in Marine Science

Keywords

Stomiidae, Reproduction, Mesopelagic, Sex ratio, Gonad histology, Maturity, Size distributions

ISSN

2296-7745

Volume

7

Issue/No.

101

First Page

1

Last Page

17

Abstract

The most abundant fishes on Earth live in the meso- and bathypelagic (deep-pelagic, collectively) zones of the open ocean, where they play a key role in deep-sea food webs by mediating energy flow from surface waters to great depth. Of these fishes, the most speciose taxon is the family Stomiidae (dragonfishes). Despite being the numerically dominant predators of the global mesopelagic zone, stomiid reproductive ecology is poorly known. Research surveys rarely catch larger adults, impeding reproductive ecology studies. Between 2010 and 2011, the Offshore Nekton Sampling and Analysis Program sampled the Gulf of Mexico using a research-sized, opening/closing trawl (10-m2 MOCNESS) and a commercial-sized, high-speed rope trawl (HSRT). Size-distribution analysis by gear type revealed: the HSRT caught more specimens per species, and the HSRT caught significantly larger specimens, whereas the MOCNESS sampled more juveniles. Gonads were dissected from 714 individuals representing 47 species, and the 12 dominant species were analyzed in further detail. Gonadal histology assessment indicated that stomiids are gonochoristic and exhibit asynchronous oocyte development and batch spawning. A total of 11 of the 12 species had sex ratios that did not significantly differ from a 1:1 (male:female) ratio (P < 0.05). Histological analysis indicated that females mature at larger sizes than males. Given the lack of age and growth data for this family, these data are critical for estimating stomiid production rates, a key element for quantifying the role of stomiids in the transfer of organic matter within the deep-pelagic zone, the planet's largest cumulative ecosystem.

Comments

©2020 Marks, Kerstetter, Wyanski and Sutton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4440-8767, 0000-0002-5280-7071

ResearcherID

I-5396-2012

DOI

10.3389/fmars.2020.00101

Peer Reviewed

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