Long-term acoustical observations of the mesopelagic fish Maurolicus muelleri reveal novel and varied vertical migration patterns

A Staby, Anders Røstad, Stein Kaartvedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

We studied the temporal dynamics in the vertical distribution of Maurolicus muelleri scattering layers (SL) by examining continuous acoustic recordings over a 15 mo period in Masfjorden, Norway, complemented by intermittent sampling campaigns. The data revealed known patterns as normal diel vertical migration (DVM), midnight sinking between dusk and dawn, and periods without migrations, as well as novel behaviours consisting of early morning ascents, reverse diel vertical migrations, and interrupted ascents in the evening. During the first autumn of the study, adult fish modified their normal DVM behaviour by suspending their migration in the evening, yet ascending toward the surface in the later part of the night to reach upper layers during dawn. This behaviour was not observed during the second autumn of the study. By mid- to end of November (1st autumn), adult fish had suspended the nocturnal ascent entirely, and in the subsequent period until the end of January, a fraction of the population rather performed limited reverse migrations, slightly shifting their vertical distribution upwards during the first part of the day. From January to March 2008, fish interrupted their evening ascent at apparently random intervals and returned to deeper waters, instead of completing a full ascent to the surface. Our study underlines the value of long-term recordings, with the results suggesting that M. muelleri has the capability of changing its behaviour in response to ontogeny and internal state (satiation and hunger) as well as to external stimuli.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume441
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2011

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