Population Genomic Dynamics of Mesopelagic Lanternfishes
Assessing the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DWHOS) on deep-sea fish assemblages of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been hindered by an absence of baseline (pre-spill) data concerning the population genetic dynamics of these fishes. The lanternfishes (Myctophidae) are a speciose, yet understudied, taxonomic group, that comprise a significant portion of the global deep-sea biomass, making them integral members of meso- and bathy-pelagic food webs. A DEEPEND Consortium team, led by NSU Research Scientist, Dr. Andrea Bernard, used a high-resolution genomic marker (SNP) approach to conduct the first investigation of the population genetic dynamics, including genetic diversity and temporal population structure, of three species of lanternfishes within the northern GOM. Surprisingly, even though all three species are presumed to have very large population census sizes, all were found to have low levels of genetic diversity and high inbreeding coefficients. For two of the three species (C. warmingii and L. guentheri), there was no evidence of temporal population genetic structure within northern GOM waters; conversely, significant intra-GOM genetic population structure was found for D. dumerilii. These results highlight the complex genetic dynamics of this group of fishes. There is a strong need for more surveys to characterize the baseline genetic makeup of lanternfishes to not only improve fundamental knowledge of this key group of fishes but also aid understanding how their populations may respond to future environmental perturbations.
Read the paper here: Population Genomic Dynamics of Mesopelagic Lanternfishes
Special Issue of Oceanography magazine
DEEPEND is so pleased to share this special issue of Oceanography magazine dedicated to ten years of GoMRI science! You can access the electronic version of the issue here.
The issue is the culmination of a decade of GoMRI research and includes a collection of articles describing the key advances, surprises and novel discoveries for the Gulf of Mexico and other regions where GoMRI's interdisciplinary and collaborative research was conducted and has application. Also included are lessons learned and outstanding research needs and gaps to inform future activities and efforts. Enjoy!
DEEPEND Compendium - Deep Pelagic Ecosystem Dynamics in a Highly Impacted Water Column: The Gulf of Mexico After Deepwater Horizon
The DEEPEND team, led by Tracey Sutton and his co-editors, have completed a compendium of 14 papers published in Frontiers in Marine Science that highlight their findings related to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DWHOS). DWHOS was primarily a deep-pelagic event that highlighted the paucity of baseline data for deep-ocean ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and elsewhere. The deep pelagial was by far the largest GoM habitat affected by the DWHOS. For this special topic issue, papers covering much of the gamut of research from the DEEPEND Consortium (http://www.deependconsortium.org), along with additional related papers concerning deep-pelagic research are included.
Download the entire e-book here (open access): Frontiers Research Topics: Deep Pelagic Ecosystem Dynamics in a Highly Impacted Water Column: The Gulf of Mexico After Deepwater Horizon
DEEPEND scientist to give NOAA webinar: The open ocean Gulf of Mexico: what have we learned about this remarkable pelagic ecosystem?
DEEPEND-RESTORE Director and Scientist Dr. Tracey Sutton will give a NOAA webinar on October 27th and 12:00PM EST titled: "DEEPEND scientist to give NOAA Seminar: The open ocean Gulf of Mexico: what have we learned about this remarkable pelagic ecosystem?"
See the announcement and link to participate here: https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/
DEEPEND scientist authors guide to South Atlantic mesopelagic fishes to inform fisheries management
Renowned taxonomists (including DEEPEND-RESTORE Director, Dr. Tracey Sutton), scientific illustrator, experts and editors take on the challenge of mesopelagic fish identification.
DEEPEND | RESTORE
Dr. Tracey Sutton (Lead Investigator), along with 11 other Principle Investigators, has recently received funding to lead a deep-sea pelagic research project in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) RESTORE Science Program. The research team will investigate the trends and drivers of pelagic community structure and abundance, from the sea surface to ~ 1 mile deep (1500 m), in the north central Gulf of Mexico. The project will run from 2019 to 2024, with the possibility of extended funding to take the project to 2029. One of the project’s main aims is to identify long-term trends in fish, shrimp, and squid abundance, and determine how observed trends relate to environmental changes and human pressure (e.g., pollution). The ultimate goal of the project is to provide information that can be used by resource managers to protect the natural resources of the Gulf. Sampling (with midwater nets and acoustics) begins in the Gulf of Mexico this August (COVID safety permitting) aboard the University of Southern Mississippi research vessel Point Sur.
Photo by Rosanna Milligan—Dr. Tracey Sutton retrieving the MOCNESS on the back deck of the R/V Point Sur.
INTO THE DEEP Book Published
The newly published book Into the Deep: Science, Technology, and the Quest to Protect the Ocean, by Christy Peterson, demonstrates the ways in which researchers utilize technology to understand and mitigate the harmful effects of human activities on the oceans. The book is divided into two sections: the first section, The Physical Ocean, addresses climate change, sea level rise, ocean mapping, global circulation, and hypoxia, while the second section, The Living Ocean, discusses specific organisms, their habitats, and their key roles in the marine environment. These topics include: phytoplankton, zooplankton, hydrothermal vents, coral reefs, ocean acidification, depleted fish populations, jellyfish, the deep-sea fauna, diel vertical migration, blue whales, detritus, the ocean carbon cycle, and computer modeling for projecting/predicting the future state of the ocean.
Each chapter includes biographies from several scientists from around the world, including DEEPEND’s Director, Dr. Tracey Sutton, and Research Associate, Nina Pruzinsky. The DEEPEND Consortium’s research is highlighted in Chapter 10, entitled Life in the Twilight Zone. The open-ocean environment, diel vertical migration, food webs, and deep-sea sampling technology are discussed in this chapter.
Into the Deep targets students in Grades 5-8 and is highly recommended for students wishing to pursue careers in science.
Release date: April 7, 2020
Frontiers in Marine Science: Special Edition
A Special Issue of Frontiers in Marine Science is being published about the results of DEEPEND’s research over the past five years. The special issue will be titled: Deep Pelagic Ecosystem Dynamics in a Highly Impacted Water Column: The Gulf of Mexico After Deepwater Horizon. The special edition will begin with a description of DEEPEND’s aims, approaches, and rationale for studying the patterns and processes of the oceanic Gulf of Mexico in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and then followed by a methodology paper. The remaining topics include: pelagic community abundance and distribution, time-series analysis, environmental drivers of ecosystem structure, and trophic interactions. Research papers also focus on biodiversity, connectivity, behavior, diel vertical migration, carbon flux, the biological pump, anthropogenic impact, and the epipelagic zone as nursery habitat for both shallow- and deep-living taxa.
Currently, there are nine publications available online, with a total of 16 papers to be published this year.
Keep checking the Frontiers website to see the additional papers that will be published!