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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 694:149-156 (2022)  -  DOI:

Mesopelagic fishes in a hurry at low latitudes

Stein Kaartvedt1,*, Svenja Christiansen1, Anders Røstad2, Dag L. Aksnes3

1Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
2Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, Bergen 5020, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We studied mesopelagic fishes in the Red Sea (22°N), hypothesizing that the rapid shifts between day and night at low latitudes would translate into rapid vertical migration speeds and brief near-surface ‘antipredation windows’. Using a bottom-moored echosounder, we found that diel vertical migration speeds of acoustical scattering layers were up to double that of the global average. Visits to upper water by some of the layers were strikingly brief, around 10 min, and included unusual rapid ascent and descent (up to 22 cm s-1), apparently with a high degree of behavioral plasticity. We suggest that the behavior of mesopelagic fishes in upper waters relates to their respective light sensitivities but is controlled by the arrival of predators. Rapid shifts between day and night appear to be an inherent factor in structuring marine ecosystems at low latitudes.

KEY WORDS: Diel vertical migration · Antipredation window · Migration speed · Scattering layer · Red Sea

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Cite this article as: Kaartvedt S, Christiansen S, Røstad A, Aksnes DL (2022) Mesopelagic fishes in a hurry at low latitudes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 694:149-156.

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