Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-16-2016

Publication Title

Scientific Reports

Keywords

Biogeography, Marine biology

ISSN

2045-2322

Volume

6

Issue/No.

26095

First Page

1

Last Page

12

Abstract

On abyssal plains, demersal fish are believed to play an important role in transferring energy across the seafloor and between the pelagic and benthic realms. However, little is known about their spatial distributions, making it difficult to quantify their ecological significance. To address this, we employed an autonomous underwater vehicle to conduct an exceptionally large photographic survey of fish distributions on the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic, 4850 m water depth) encompassing two spatial scales (1–10 km2) on and adjacent to a small abyssal hill (240 m elevation). The spatial distributions of the total fish fauna and that of the two dominant morphotypes (Coryphaenoidessp. 1 and C. profundicolus) appeared to be random, a result contrary to common expectation but consistent with previous predictions for these fishes. We estimated total fish density on the abyssal plain to be 723 individuals km−2 (95% CI: 601–844). This estimate is higher, and likely more precise, than prior estimates from trawl catch and baited camera techniques (152 and 188 individuals km−2 respectively). We detected no significant difference in fish density between abyssal hill and plain, nor did we detect any evidence for the existence of fish aggregations at any spatial scale assessed.

Comments

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Additional Comments

Autonomous Ecological Surveying of the Abyss (AESA): Understanding Mesoscale Spatial Heterogeneity in the Deep Sea grant #s: NE/HO21787/1, NE/H023569/1; NERC Studentship grant #: NE/I528369

ORCID ID

0000-0002-8296-4780

ResearcherID

J-3058-2014

DOI

10.1038/srep26095

Peer Reviewed

Find in your library

Share

COinS