Respiration of mesopelagic fish: a comparison of respiratory electron transport system (ETS) measurements and allometrically calculated rates in the Southern Ocean and Benguela Current
Mesopelagic fish are an important component of marine ecosystems, and their contribution to marine biogeochemical cycles is becoming increasingly recognized. However, major uncertainties remain in the rates at which they remineralize organic matter. We present respiration rate estimates of mesopelagic fish from two oceanographically contrasting regions: the Scotia Sea and the Benguela Current. Respiration rates were estimated by measuring the enzyme activities of the electron transport system. Regression analysis of respiration with wet mass highlights regional and inter-specific differences. The mean respiration rates of all mesopelagic fish sampled were 593.6 and 354.9 µl O2 individual−1 h−1 in the Scotia Sea and Benguela Current, respectively. Global allometric models performed poorly in colder regions compared with our observations, underestimating respiratory flux in the Scotia Sea by 67–88%. This may reflect that most data used to fit such models are derived from temperate and subtropical regions. We recommend caution when applying globally derived allometric models to regional data, particularly in cold (<5°C) temperature environments where empirical data are limited. More mesopelagic fish respiration rate measurements are required, particularly in polar regions, to increase the accuracy with which we can assess their importance in marine biogeochemical cycles.
Authors: Belcher, Anna ORCID record for Anna Belcher, Cook, Kathryn ORCID record for Kathryn Cook, Bondyale-Juez, Daniel, Stowasser, Gabriele ORCID record for Gabriele Stowasser, Fielding, Sophie ORCID record for Sophie Fielding, Saunders, Ryan A., Mayor, Daniel J. ORCID record for Daniel J. Mayor, Tarling, Geraint A. ORCID record for Geraint A. Tarling