Inter-Research > MEPS > v425 > p193-202  
MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 425:193-202 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08998

Behavioural and physiological adaptations of the bearded goby, a key fish species of the extreme environment of the northern Benguela upwelling

Anne G. V. Salvanes1,*, Anne C. Utne-Palm1, Bronwen Currie2, Victoria A. Braithwaite1,3

1Department of Biology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
2National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC), Strand Street Box 912, Swakopmund, Namibia
3School of Forest Resources & Department of Biology, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA

ABSTRACT: Nutrient-rich, upwelling marine areas with high productivity often produce sediments dominated by organic-rich mud. Here, intense decay processes create hypoxic conditions with high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide and methane in the muddy surface layers. Such environments are inhospitable to most forms of life and those organisms that can survive in these areas tend to be specialists that cope with anoxic or hypoxic conditions, e.g. sulphide-oxidising bacteria and chemolithotrophic bacteria. Surprisingly, during recent acoustic and survey work in the northern Benguela region off the coast of Namibia, it was observed that the bearded goby Sufflogobius bibarbatus spends much of the day on the seabed interacting with the hypoxic and sulphidic mud, making a diel vertical migration (DVM) to spend the night in more oxygenated, but jellyfish-rich waters. We describe a series of experiments that demonstrate physiological and behavioural adaptations that enable the gobies to cope with hypoxia, anoxia and exposure to sulphide for prolonged periods of time. We also observed that the fish burrow directly into the muddy substrate when threatened and that, unlike another fish species common to this area, the horse mackerel Trachurus capensis, the gobies tolerate the presence of jellyfish.


KEY WORDS: Bearded goby · Behaviour · Physiology · Anoxia · Hypoxia · Sulphide · Benguela ·Jellyfish


Full text in pdf format  
Cite this article as: Salvanes AGV, Utne-Palm AC, Currie B, Braithwaite VA (2011) Behavioural and physiological adaptations of the bearded goby, a key fish species of the extreme environment of the northern Benguela upwelling. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 425:193-202. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08998

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn