Mesopelagic fish composition and diets of three myctophid species with potential incidence of microplastics, across the southern tropical gyre

Catégorie : Impacts de la Pollution
Date :20 novembre 2020
Bernal, Ainhoa; Toresen, Reidar; Riera, Rodrigo.
Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography : 179
The species occurrence of mesopelagic fish collected in the scattering layers was studied across the Indian Ocean subtropical gyre during the dry season (2015). Ocean eddies can retain zooplankton and plastic debris, and determine biological composition through advection. The conditions inside the gyre were stabilised by low chlorophyll-a concentrations and a deep nutricline. A diverse assemblage of mesopelagic fish, dominated by myctophids, exhibited diel migrations to the upper water layers for feeding since the early night. Myctophids were concentrated ca. 100 m depth, where the deep chlorophyll maximum was located, and coinciding with the nutricline. Another group of mesopelagic fish remained in deeper waters during the daytime, with a higher occurrence of Stomiiformes (Phoshycthyidae and Sternoptychidae) at the 500-600 m Deep Scattering Layer. Moreover, the diets of 220 myctophid specimens belonging to the species Ceratoscopehis warmingii, Diaphus effulgens, and Symbolophorus evermanni, were investigated based on stomach content analysis. Calanoid copepods, mainly Pleuromamma andominalis, made up 30% of the diet in the three myctophid species, with interspecific differences in the preferred second item: C. warmingii preferred ostracods, D. effulgens, non-calanoid copepods, and S. evermanni, euphausiids. Thus, partial dietary segregation was observed among the three species. We hypothesized that these myctophid diets differed between stations located at the gyre core and its outer edge. Any dietary pattern indicating aggregation of food resources, or an enhancement of the foraging opportunities for myctophids, was discerned as an effect of the gyre advection. However, prey composition diverged between the core and the outer edge stations regardless of the fish species, with a higher dietary representation of P. abdominalis and euphausiids (migratory zooplankton) in the individuals collected in the core-influenced area. A total of six plastic pieces were present in the stomachs of D. effulgens and S. evermanni, in contrast with the high presence of plastic particles found at the surface in most sampling stations (average number of plastic pieces was 41 per hour). The selected myctophid species did not appear to be important transport vectors for micmplastics in comparison with species from other oceans.