Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 894
Title: Day and Night Abundance, Distribution, and Activity Patterns of Demersal Fishes on Heceta Bank, Oregon
Author: T. D. Hart, J. E. R. Clemons, W. Waldo Wakefield, S. Heppell
Publication Year: 2010
Journal: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 108
Issue: 4
Pages: 466-477
Abstract: AbstractMost shallow-dwelling tropical marine fishes exhibit different activity patterns during the day and night but show similar transition behavior among habitat sites despite the dissimilar assemblages of the species. However, changes in species abundance, distribution, and activity patterns have only rarely been examined in temperate deepwater habitats during the day and night, where day-to-night differences in light intensity are extremely slight. Directobservation surveys were conducted over several depths and habitat types on Heceta Bank, the largest rocky bank off the Oregon coast. Day and night fish community composition, relative density, and activity levels were compared by using videotape footage from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operated along paired transects. Habitat-specific abundance and activity were determined for 31 taxa or groups. General patterns observed were similar to shallow temperate day and night studies, with an overall increase in the abundance and activity of fishes during the day than at night, particularly in shallower cobble, boulder, and rock ridge habitats. Smaller schooling rockfishes (Sebastes spp.) were more abundant and active in day than in night transects, and sharpchin (S. zacentrus) and harlequin (S. variegatus) rockfish were significantly more abundant in night transects. Most taxa, however, did not exhibit distinct diurnal or nocturnal activity patterns. Rosethorn rockfish (S. helvomaculatus) and hagfishes (Eptatretus spp.) showed the clearest diurnal and nocturnal activity patterns, respectively. Because day and night distributions and activity patterns in demersal fishes are likely to influence both catchability and observability in bottom trawl and direct-count in situ surveys, the patterns observed in the current study should be considered for survey design and interpretation.
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