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

Event Name/Location

Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Providence, Rhode Island, July 7-11, 2010

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Only a tiny fraction of the world's largest volume of living space, the ocean's mid-water region, has ever been sampled. It is one of the least understood areas on earth, so as part of the International Census of Marine Life field project, MAR-ECO, a discrete-depth trawling survey was conducted in 2009 aboard the NOAA ship Henry Bigelow to examine pelagic assemblage structure and distribution over the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) of the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The survey consisted of 11 stations divided into two transects, one northwest and one southeast of the CGFZ, which roughly coincides with the Subpolar Front. Sampling was conducted from 0-3000 m using a Norwegian "Krill" trawl with five codends that opened and closed by a preprogrammed timer. Seventy-five species of fish (29 families, 14 orders) were collected. Maximum species diversity was observed between 700-1900 m. Other key features observed were a strong diel migrating component and frequent captures of putative bathypelagic fishes in the epipelagic zone (0-200 m). Fish assemblage structure and distribution will be discussed as a function of physical oceanographic features. The results of this expedition have increased our knowledge about oceanic community structure in association with mid-ocean ridge systems and mesoscale circulation patterns.