Global effects of moon phase on nocturnal acoustic scattering layers

Perdana Prihartato, Xabier Irigoien, Marc G. Genton, Stein Kaartvedt

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29 Scopus citations


© Inter-Research 2016. The impact of moon phase on the global nocturnal vertical distribution of acoustic scattering layers (SLs) in the upper 200 m was studied during the Malaspina expedition that circumnavigated the world. We assessed the nocturnal weighted mean depths and the vertical extension of the SL (the range between the upper 25th percentile and lower 75th percentile of the backscatter) and used a generalized additive model to reveal the relationship between the nocturnal vertical distribution of the SL and moon phase, as well as other environmental factors. Moon phase significantly affected the SL distribution on a global scale, in contrast to other factors such as dissolved oxygen, temperature and fluorescence, which each correlated with nocturnal SL distribution during the large geographic coverage. Full moon caused a deepening effect on the nocturnal SL. Contrary to expectations, the shallowest distribution was not observed during the darkest nights (new moon) and there was no difference in vertical distribution between new moon and intermediate moon phases. We conclude that the trend of deepening SL during approximately full moon (bright nights) is a global phenomenon related to anti-predator behavior.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-75
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
StatePublished - Jan 18 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the Malaspina 2010 Expedition project, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Consolider-Ingenio 2010, CSD2008-00077) and co-funded by AZTI-Tecnalia. The research was equally supported by the baseline funding of S.K. provided by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). We thank Udane Martinez for setting the acoustics onboard and all those who contributed to the success of the Malaspina 2010 Expedition.


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