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

Event Name/Location

Fish at Night: An International Symposium, Miami, Florida, November 17-20, 2015

Presentation Date


Document Type



The assemblage composition, abundance, frequency of occurrence, and vertical distribution of juvenile reef fishes in the offshore pelagic habitat of the northern Gulf of Mexico are described. This study, a component of the NOAA-supported Offshore Nekton Sampling and Analysis Program, is the first to examine juvenile reef fish distributions across the oceanic northern Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Results presented here are derived from a 3-month, spring/summer research cruise in 2011 on the M/V Meg Skansi. A 10-m2 MOCNESS midwater trawl was used to sample 45 stations from the surface to a depth of 1500 m, both day and night. Seven reef fish orders, 30 reef fish families and 119 reef fish species were collected. Initial analysis has revealed the presence of juveniles of some species in locations where adults are not known to occur. Juveniles were found almost exclusively in the uppermost 200m of the water column. A greater number of individuals were collected in nighttime trawls. Surprisingly, some individuals were sampled between 1000–1500 m. During the MS7 sampling program, hydrographic profiles of the water column were recorded. This information provides the hydrographic background setting against which the coastal reef fish distributions in the offshore pelagic habitat of the Gulf of Mexico can be characterized. Results of fish distributions as a function of location (relative to the shelf break) and major mesoscale oceanographic features will be presented.


Session: Diel Fish Distribution and Abundance Comparisons