Quantifying Pelagic Habitat Use By Lanternfishes in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Tampa, Florida, August 20-24, 2017
In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred at 1500 m in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM), and demonstrated a clear and urgent need for a better understanding of deep-pelagic ecosystems and the processes that shape deep-water assemblages. One of the most globally-important pelagic taxa is the Myctophidae (lanternfishes), which are a ubiquitous component of the deep-pelagic micronekton and important prey for several commercially-valuable species. In the present study, quantitative, depth-stratified trawl data were analysed to assess the assemblage composition and diversity of the dominant myctophid species in relation to meso-scale physical and chemical variables in the GOM during summer 2011. The data were collected through the NOAA-supported Offshore Nekton Sampling and Analysis Program. Significant correlations to meso-scale features associated with the Loop Current were observed at depths to 1000 m, but the effects were weak and only explained 6 – 11% of the observed variance in assemblage composition. These results indicate that myctophid assemblages were well-mixed in 2011 and suggest high dispersal rates across the study region (>500 km). These findings have implications for understanding the sensitivity of myctophid populations following different forms of disturbance.
Milligan, Rosanna and Sutton, Tracey, "Quantifying Pelagic Habitat Use By Lanternfishes in the Northern Gulf of Mexico" (2017). Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures. 512.