Influence of lunar phases, winds and seasonality on the stranding of mesopelagic fish in the Strait of Messina (Central Mediterranean Sea)

Battaglia, Pietro, Ammendolia, Giovanni, Cavallaro, Mauro, Consoli, Pierpaolo, Esposito, Valentina, Malara, Danilo, Rao, Ignazio, Romeo, Teresa, and Andaloro, Franco (2017) Influence of lunar phases, winds and seasonality on the stranding of mesopelagic fish in the Strait of Messina (Central Mediterranean Sea). Marine Ecology: an evolutionary perspective, 38 (5). e12459.

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Abstract

The shore stranding of mesopelagic fauna is a recurrent phenomenon in the Strait of Messina (Central Mediterranean Sea). The aim of this paper is to test the influence oflunar phases, winds and seasons upon the frequency of occurrence of strandings of mesopelagic fish. Species abundance in relation to these factors was quantified for the first time. Specimens were collected stranded on the shore along the Sicilian coast of the Strait of Messina between 2008 and 2016. Overall 32 species belonging to seven families (Gonostomatidae, Microstomatidae, Myctophidae, Paralepididae, Phosichthyidae, Sternoptychidae, Stomiidae) were found stranded. Myctophidae was the family including the highest number of species (16), whereas Gonostomatidae was the most abundant in terms of total number of individuals (47.2%), mainly thanks to the species Cyclothone braueri. The moon, which influences the strength of currents (highest during full and new moon phases) and irradiance (higher in some lunar phases, such as the full moon), affected the abundance of stranded mesopelagic fish in the study area. The highest number of stranding events was recorded during the new moon: 34.6% of the total relative abundance of stranded mesopelagic fish. Wind blowing from the sea towards the coastline (southeasterly and easterly winds) created the best conditions for strandings. The highest abundance of stranded specimens was recorded during the winter season.

Item ID: 51552
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0173-9565
Keywords: lunar cycle, midwater fish, occurrence, seasonality, stranding, wind direction
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2017 08:00
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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