Three-dimensional swimming behavior and activity of a mesopelagic fish

Svenja Christiansen, Øystein Langangen, Josefin Titelman, Leif Asbjørn Vøllestad, Stein Kaartvedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Knowledge of the three-dimensional behavior and activity patterns of mesopelagic fishes is crucial for understanding their role in ecological and biogeochemical processes in the ocean. We here show that the use of submerged stationary echosounders enables detailed analysis of three-dimensional swimming behavior of small mesopelagic fishes in situ. We explore a 4-month continuous dataset containing more than 100,000 nocturnal tracks of juvenile Maurolicus muelleri, obtained from a surface-facing, moored echosounder in a Norwegian fjord. We extend previous observations of vertical nocturnal swimming and step-wise (stop-and-go) dusk and dawn migrations with the corresponding horizontal and turning behavior. In the middle of the night, the M. muelleri mainly drifted with the currents. Horizontal swimming speeds were then usually below 0.5 body length s−1 but increased substantially during the step-wise dusk and dawn vertical migration. Most vertical relocations were followed by a change in horizontal direction. Our observations are in line with hypotheses of growth maximization in the juvenile fish, and of reducing detection and encounters with predators.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
StatePublished - Sep 22 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-26
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Anders Røstad and Thor A. Klevjer for invaluable logistic help in collecting the acoustic data and Anne Christine Utne Palm, Geraint Tarling, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. The authors would also like to thank the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) for providing land-based facilities for the acoustic observations. The field work was funded by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Stein Kaartvedt and Svenja Christiansen were supported by the EU-project SUMMER (grant agreement number: 817806) of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme during preparation of the manuscript.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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