Biophysical factors affecting the distribution of demersal fish around the head of a submarine canyon off the bonney coast, South Australia

David Currie, Sam McClatchie, John Middleton, Sasi Nayar

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    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We sampled the demersal fish community of the Bonney Canyon, South Australia at depths (100-1,500 m) and locations that are poorly known. Seventy-eight species of demersal fish were obtained from 12 depth-stratified trawls along, and to either side, of the central canyon axis. Distributional patterns in species richness and biomass were highly correlated. Three fish assemblage groupings, characterised by small suites of species with narrow depth distributions, were identified on the shelf, upper slope and mid slope. The assemblage groupings were largely explained by depth (ρw = 0.78). Compared to the depth gradient, canyon-related effects are weak or occur at spatial or temporal scales not sampled in this study. A conceptual physical model displayed features consistent with the depth zonational patterns in fish, and also indicated that canyon upwelling can occur. The depth zonation of the fish assemblage was associated with the depth distribution of water masses in the area. Notably, the mid-slope community (1,000 m) coincided with a layer of Antarctic Intermediate Water, the upper slope community (500 m) resided within the core of the Flinders Current, and the shelf community was located in a well-mixed layer of surface water (&450 m depth).

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere30138
    Pages (from-to)e30138
    Number of pages16
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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