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

Event Name/Location

ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 13-18, 2011

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Only a tiny fraction of the world’s largest volume of living space, the ocean’s midwater biome, has ever been sampled. 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 B. Bigelow to examine pelagic assemblage structure and distribution over the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone of the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The bottom topography in this region ranges from 4500 m in the channel to 700-800 m on top of adjacent seamounts. Sampling was conducted at 11 stations from 0-3000 m using a Norwegian “Krill” trawl with five codends that opened and closed by a pre-programmed timer. Seventy-five species of fishes were collected, with a maximum species diversity and biomass being observed between 700-1900 m. Other key features observed were a strong diel migrating component and frequent captures of putative bathypelagic fishes, shrimps, and cephalopods in the epipelagic zone (0-200 m). The results of MAR-ECO sampling show patterns unlike those previously reported for open ocean ecosystems.