NEW PAPER: Myctophid Diversity in the Gulf of Mexico
I am delighted to announce that we have a new open-access paper out in Frontiers in Marine Science from the DEEPEND project, titled "Dispersion Overrides Environmental Variability as a Primary Driver of the Horizontal Assemblage Structure of the Mesopelagic Fish Family Myctophidae in the Northern Gulf of Mexico". The paper. published last week, describes how relatively little (< 30%) of the assemblage structure of lanternfishes (Myctophidae) correlates with environmental or spatial variables at the spatial (10s - 100s km) and temporal (3 - 9 months) scales examined in the paper. We believe that the reason for this is that their vertical distributions are the most important variable determining the position of lanternfish (and micronekton more generally) in space, which then allows different ocean currents in those different depths to mix the assemblage more or less at random through the horizontal plane.
These findings suggests that the lanterfish community is therefore highly mixed, and is likely highly connected at regional scales, with important consequences for resource management in the offshore gulf of Mexico. If pelagic fauna are highly connected, it implies that they may be relatively resilient to minor or local disturbances within the region since other organisms can "fill the gap". On the other hand, they may be extremely vulnerable to large disturbances that have the potential to propagate through the wider region, by affecting organisms well outside the local area of the disturbance.
The full text is available via Frontiers in Marine Science: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00015/full