Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Event Name/Location

ICES Symposium on Ecosystem Approach with Fisheries Acoustics and Complementary Technologies, Bergen, Norway, June 16-20, 2008

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The spatial distribution of organisms plays a key role in facilitating biological processes, such as trophic interactions, which govern ecosystem structure and function. Attempts to understand bathypelagic (1000-4000 m depth) ecosystem dynamics have been hampered by the coarse temporal-spatial resolution and static nature of most sampling strategies. This study combines a traditional approach, based on discrete net trawls sampling small volumes, with the continuous full water column coverage provided by fisheries acoustics to investigate the distribution of biomass along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). The limited trawl samples have been interpreted as showing a positive relationship between the presence of the MAR in the bathypelagic depth zone and biomass of bathypelagic fish species. Using 18 kHz echosounder data we explored this apparent association, and used comparisons of trawl data with the acoustic backscatter distribution to provide insights into how the distribution of biomass may influence trophic interactions in the bathypelagos. As such, this research provides a valuable case study of the potential contribution of acoustics to ecosystem studies, both within fisheries management and in a wider biological context.