Presented here is the first description of the geographic and depth distributions of pelagic decapod shrimps in the area located around the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) samples
collected from April to June 2011. This information is important in ecosystem models investigating trophic effects of the spill because pelagic decapod shrimps are consumed by organisms occupying higher trophic levels. One of the most abundant and diverse groups is the family Oplophoridae;
however, past research on their distribution and reproductive biology has been limited. In the northeastern Gulf of Mexico (GOM), all previous studies have been conducted at Standard Station (27°N, 86°W). The present study: (1) provides data from a larger area of the northeastern GOM,
where oplophorids have never been studied; (2) allows for comparisons of distributions and abundances of oplophorid species in both the mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones by using a continuous data set; and (3) compares assemblages from two distinct bathymetric environments, slope (200- to
1000-m bottom depth) and offshore (>1000 m). Our post-spill data set can be compared with data obtained during future Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics (DEEPEND Consortium of the GOM) cruises to monitor changes, or lack thereof, in the assemblage after exposure to Deepwater Horizon oil and dispersants
in the water column.
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Document Type: Research Article
Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004;, Email: [email protected]
Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004
July 1, 2017
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