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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Wide variation in growth, habitat, and ecological role can be found across deep-sea fishes like the abyssal (bottom: Coryphaenoides armatus, Barathrites iris, Bassozetus nasus), the especially long-lived (top left: Hoplostethus atlanticus), and the shelf/slope (top right: Anoplopoma fimbria) species.
Photos: Bottom: Jeff Drazen and Astrid Leitner; Top left: Di Tracey; Top right: Richard Starr

Black JA, Neuheimer AB, Horn PL, Tracey DM, Drazen JC


Environmental, evolutionary, and ecological drivers of slow growth in deep-sea demersal teleosts

Deep-sea fishes have long been observed to live longer and grow more slowly than shallow-water fishes, with some species living up to ~150 years and reaching sexual maturity in their 20s. However, there remains significant and yet unexplained variation in fish growth rates across the depth continuum. This meta-analysis evaluates the environmental, evolutionary, and ecological factors that may influence growth rates across 53 species of bony fishes inhabiting depths from the shallows to the abyss. We find that growth rate is not entirely explained by temperature and depth of habitat, and may be a complex function of metabolism, activity level, and evolutionary pressures acting through “pace of life” adaptations.


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