How do I find this? Fish and habitat at a certain depth?
February 20, 2015 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find out example of adaptations of marine fish that live at a certain depth and what that habitat looks like. But I'm not sure how to go about finding this information. I'm running into information overload where I don't know how to narrow this down.

I was looking for a way to search for fish at depths between 40 and 100 meters. The problem I'm running into seems to be that I can search by pelagic fish, by really deep water fish (1000+ meters), and by reef fish. But narrowing down to a specific and I'm coming up empty. In comparison, I guess what I'm looking for is shallow, but not so shallow that you'd find most reef fish...I've hit up fishbase, but it doesn't seem to allow to narrow by that parameter.

I think part of this is that I don't know the terms to correctly describe what I'm looking for, making my search too broad. I could use some suggestions for how to narrow my search down.
posted by [insert clever name here] to Science & Nature (7 answers total)

Are you looking for a listing of fish found here, more info about the habitat?
posted by advicepig at 1:40 PM on February 20, 2015

My guess is that where pelagic fish tend to hang out isn't so much about depth per se and more about things like turbidity and temperature. So depending on the part of the ocean, different fish may have different typical depths.
posted by goingonit at 1:46 PM on February 20, 2015

Response by poster: Are you looking for a listing of fish found here, more info about the habitat?

A little of both. I'm looking for the habitat that occurs at those depths and not the open water; i.e. deeper reefs, algae meadows (my understanding is that there are some) along with the sandy and rocky bottoms, not the pelagic, open water swimming fish. Then I'm hoping to find out about adaptations to this depth, things like how coloration changes based on the light wavelengths and how camouflage changes based on the differing habitats. I was hoping to find fish that occurred at those depths to try and sort out adaptations that might occur along with it. I know of some specific fish found at those depths, an example being Centropyge boylei, but not about the types of adaptation fish have at those depths. For example, most corals are going to be non-photosynthetic and any algae that occur will probably be reds and browns. I think - and that's what I'd like to know more about.

What I'm trying to determine is an idea of any traits that might be similar in fish in these zones, as well as the specific fish so I can see for myself some of the commonalities (or not!) between fishes in the different habitats.

It does occur to me that a lot may not be known about these habitats - I was speaking to a diver recently, and he specialized in some of those deeper dives, indicating it was a rarely explored zone which is what made it so exciting. But this was just one conversation with one guy; I don't know how accurate that was.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:31 PM on February 20, 2015

Response by poster: Correction - I was confusing a story told to me by a diver with a documentary my husband was telling me about. *embarassed* (I have a friend who owns a dive shop, and sometimes these things blur together).
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:50 PM on February 20, 2015

So you're more interested in species that dwell near the sea floor where the total depth is in that range. I'd start looking into habitats on the continental shelf. Look for benthic fish.

I'm not a marine biologist, I just like fish a lot.
posted by advicepig at 2:57 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

You need to narrow it down. Between 100 and 400m depth worldwide is a HUGE amount of seafloor spanning all kinds of habitats, water temperatures, salinity regimes etc.
posted by fshgrl at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2015

I'm a little confused my your question. I would think that most of the major food fish live at those depths. Cod, halibut, etc.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:17 PM on February 21, 2015

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