Vertical migrations of a deep-sea fish and its prey
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAfonso P, McGinty N, Graça G, Fontes J, Inácio M, et al. (2014) Vertical Migrations of a Deep-Sea Fish and Its Prey. PLoS ONE 9(5): e97884. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097884 10.1371/journal.pone.0097884
It has been speculated that some deep-sea fishes can display large vertical migrations and likely doing so to explore the full suite of benthopelagic food resources, especially the pelagic organisms of the deep scattering layer (DSL). This would help explain the success of fishes residing at seamounts and the increased biodiversity found in these features of the open ocean. We combined active plus passive acoustic telemetry of blackspot seabream with in situ environmental and biological (backscattering) data collection at a seamount to verify if its behaviour is dominated by vertical movements as a response to temporal changes in environmental conditions and pelagic prey availability. We found that seabream extensively migrate up and down the water column, that these patterns are cyclic both in short-term (tidal, diel) as well as long-term (seasonal) scales, and that they partially match the availability of potential DSL prey components. Furthermore, the emerging pattern points to a more complex spatial behaviour than previously anticipated, suggesting a seasonal switch in the diel behaviour mode (benthic vs. pelagic) of seabream, which may reflect an adaptation to differences in prey availability. This study is the first to document the fine scale three-dimensional behaviour of a deep-sea fish residing at seamounts.