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Assemblages of vertical migratory mesopelagic fish in the transitional region of the western North Pacific

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Abstract:

Assemblages of vertical migratory mesopelagic fish are described for the nighttime upper 20 m layer of the transitional and adjacent waters in the western North Pacific. Twenty-three mesopelagic fish species belonging to six families and 16 genera were collected during June 1996. Family Myctophidae was most speciose, represented by 17 species, followed by Sternoptychidae (two spp.) and Bathylagidae (one spp.). Six assemblages are recognized based on their species composition: Subarctic, Northern Transition, Southern Transition, Subtropical, Slope Water and Seamount Assemblages. These assemblages are also characterized by size composition and biomass of the catches. The distributions of the Subarctic, Northern Transition, Southern Transition and Subtropical Assemblages are approximately defined by the Kuroshio and Oyashio fronts and the Subarctic Boundary. Slope Water and Seamount Assemblages are closely related to the slope water around the shelf edge off Japan and waters around the Shatsky Rise and the Emperor Seamount chain, respectively. The importance of the Southern Transition Assemblage area between the Kuroshio front and Subarctic Boundary as spawning and nursery grounds of many subarctic, transitional and subtropical fishes is elucidated, based on the geographical distribution patterns of their larvae and juveniles.

Keywords: biomass; diel vertical migration; mesopelagic fish assemblage; nursery ground; transitional waters; western North Pacific

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2419.2002.00199.x

Affiliations: 1: Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 1-15-1, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan, 2: Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute, 116, Katsurakoi, Kushiro 085, Japan, 3: National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, 2-12-4, Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236, Japan

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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