This month, a number of DEEPEND researchers travelled to Austin to take part in the 2017 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH). This annual conference is the premier ichthyological meeting in the US, and is organized by four ecological societies (the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; the American Elasmobranch Society; the Herpetologists’ League; and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles), to bring a diverse range of scientists together to share their research and expertise.
As with the GOMOSES meeting in February, the DEEPEND consortium was very well represented with a total of eight presentations! Of these, six were given by DEEPEND students, which is a great achievement for them and for the consortium. Our presentations covered a diverse range of topics relating to the ecological and taxonomic work we’ve been doing to understand the diversity of fishes that live in the Gulf of Mexico, their life histories, and how they make use of their environment. Three of our presentations explored the trophic ecology and parasite fauna of pelagic fishes, including a study of Sargassum frogfish in the surface waters (Martinez et al.), a study of hatchetfishes, myctophids and dragonfishes in the mesopelagic realm (Woodstock et al.) and a study of the strange “tube-shoulder fishes” (Platytroctidae) that inhabit the bathypelagic realm (Novotny et al.). We also presented talks discussing how juvenile tunas (Pruzinsky & Sutton), and how snappers and groupers (Velez & Moore) are distributed across the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico; and how the abundances (Richards et al.) and biodiversity (Milligan and Sutton) of our dominant mesopelagic fishes change in response to major oceanographic features in the Gulf. Finally, Tracey Sutton presented a summary of the enormous biodiversity of fishes that we’ve collected and identified so far, which includes an incredible 180 new records of fish that have never been captured in the Gulf of Mexico before!
Of course there’s no rest for the wicked, and next month we’ll be off to Tampa, FL to participate in the American Fisheries Society conference. We are taking another strong contingent of from DEEPEND researchers, so be sure to check back in August to hear all about that!