Myctobase, a circumpolar database of mesopelagic fishes for new insights into deep pelagic prey fields
The global importance of mesopelagic fish is increasingly recognised, but they remain poorly studied. This is particularly true in the Southern Ocean, where mesopelagic fishes are both key predators and prey, but where the remote environment makes sampling challenging. Despite this, multiple national Antarctic research programs have undertaken regional sampling of mesopelagic fish over several decades. However, data are dispersed, and sampling methodologies often differ precluding comparisons and limiting synthetic analyses. We identified potential data holders by compiling a metadata catalogue of existing survey data for Southern Ocean mesopelagic fishes. Data holders contributed 17,491 occurrence and 11,190 abundance records from 4780 net hauls from 72 different research cruises. Data span across 37 years from 1991 to 2019 and include trait-based information (length, weight, maturity). The final dataset underwent quality control processes and detailed metadata was provided for each sampling event. This dataset can be accessed through Zenodo. Myctobase will enhance research capacity by providing the broadscale baseline data necessary for observing and modelling mesopelagic fishes.
Authors: Woods, Briannyn, Trebilco, Rowan, Walters, Andrea, Hindell, Mark, Duhamel, Guy, Flores, Hauke, Moteki, Masato, Pruvost, Patrice, Reiss, Christian, Saunders, Ryan ORCID record for Ryan Saunders, Sutton, Caroline, Gan, Yi-Ming, Van de Putte, Anton