Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The contribution of migratory mesopelagic fishes to neuston fish assemblages across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans

M. Pilar Olivar A G , J. Ignacio González-Gordillo B , Jordi Salat A , Guillem Chust C , Andrés Cózar B , Santiago Hernández-León D , M. Luz Fernández de Puelles E and Xabier Irigoien F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Institut de Ciències del Mar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Passeig Marítim, 37-49, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain.

B Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz, Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CEI MAR), E-11510 Puerto Real, Spain.

C AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Division, Txatxarramendi ugartea z/g, E-48395 Sukarrieta, Bizkaia, Spain.

D Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario de Tafira, E-35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain.

E M.L. Fernández de Puelles, Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Muelle de Poniente s/n, E-07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

F King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Red Sea Research Center, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia.

G Corresponding author. Email: polivar@icm.csic.es

Marine and Freshwater Research 67(8) 1114-1127 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF14391
Submitted: 2 December 2014  Accepted: 4 April 2015   Published: 27 August 2015

Abstract

Surface waters are an attractive foraging ground for small fish in the open ocean. This study aims to determine the importance of vertically migrating species in the neuston of oceanic waters across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and to ascertain the influence of environmental variables on their distribution patterns. Neustonic fish assemblages were primarily controlled by light. They were dominated by late-larvae and juveniles of Exocoetidae, Hemiramphidae and Scomberesocidae during the day. At night, the vertical migration of mesopelagic species changed the dominance pattern in favour of Myctophidae and Scomberesocidae. The neustonic families’ distribution was primarily related to sea surface temperatures, whereas environmental variables at deeper layers were related to mesopelagic migrating families. Canonical correspondence analysis showed a low but statistically significant contribution of several environmental variables to myctophid species composition (10%), with minimum oxygen concentrations ranking first in variance explanation followed by maximum fluorescence, sea surface temperature and 400-m temperature. Spatial autocorrelation also explained 17% of the variance, indicating the influence of other factors such as historical, demographic and dispersal constraints. The low number of myctophid species in the North Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent appears to be related to the low oxygen concentrations observed in this province.

Additional keywords: Ichthyoneuston, ichthyoplankton, micronekton, Myctophidae, oceanic realm, pelagic biogeography, vertical migration.


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