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

On the Diversity, Population Ecology, and Biogeography of Myctophidae

Event Name/Location

6th annual congressof the Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik (GfBS, Society for Biological Systematics)

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Proceeding Title

Organisms, Diversity, and Evolution Vol 3(4)




1. Introduction

An overview of the PhD project of the first author within the framework of an international collaboration on lanternfish (Myctophidae) ecology is given. Mesopelagic fishes play an important trophic role in the open ocean as well as close to steep slopes. Myctophidae in particular display a high diversity that can be used as an indicator of biogeogrpahic distinctness of a specific area. The life history and adaptive strategies at the level of individual populations of myctophid species are poorly documented. In order to integrate these various aspects, a comparitive study has beeen studied.

2. Material

The investigations are based on material of the global "DANA" deep-sea expedition that is deposited at the Zoological Museum, Copenhagen (ZMUC), and on collections from recent pelagic research cruises in deep-water canyons south of Georges' Bank (NW Atlantic), the Canary Islands (Eastern Central Atlantic) and the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Data Analyses and Perspective

Data on species composition and spatial distribution of mesopelagic fishes collected off the Canary Islands shows that myctophids are distributed patchily at a rather small spatial scale (Wienerroither 2003). These distribution patterns are consistent with areas characterized by high productivity and specific hydrological phenomena like upwellings and eddies. MOCNESS-catches close to deep-water canyons on the southern edge of Georges' Bank (Wienerroither, Suiblein and Youngbluth 2003) enable an even more detailed analysis of the small-scale distribution of myctophid species. Populations of geographically separated areas will be compared using meristic and morphometric characters to reveal possible adaptations to ecologically different environments.

Commercially-targeted fishes as well as marine mammals and birds use myctophid species as important sources of food. Adequate and sustainable ecosystem management require holistic consideration of the food web, with detailed knowledge about the lifecycle and population structure of its components. This necessity is reinforced but also complicated by the insight that geographically separated populations of the same mesopelagic fish species have differing life history data.

4. Literature Cited

Wienerroither, R.M. 2003. Species composition of mesopelagic fishes in the area of the Canary Islands, Eastern Central Atlantic. Informes Tecnicos del Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas, 9:1-110.

Wienerroither, R.M., F. Uiblein & M. Youngbluth 2003. Species composition and distribution patterns of myctophids and associated midwater fishes in the Gulf of Maine, NW Atlantic. Report from the Nanomia research cruise, September 2002, 8pp.

First Page


This document is currently not available here.