Deep-Pelagic Plankton Communities of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Trophic Ecology, Assemblage Dynamics, and Connectivity with the Upper Ocean
Oregon State University
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative GoMRI Grant Program
Benthic Zone/Sea Floor
Our goal is to address major knowledge gaps for the GOM by describing the community structure and trophic ecology of deep-pelagic plankton assemblages, and their connectivity with the upper ocean. Our specific objectives are to: 1) describe diets and trophic linkages for dominant, deep-pelagic larval and juvenile fishes using gut content analysis and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis; 2) identify environmental drivers that structure deep-pelagic planktonic assemblages and vertical migration patterns; 3) develop a coupled plankton/upper trophic level and coupled deep-pelagic/epipelagic ecosystem model using ECOPATH and end-to-end ECOTRAN methods; and 4) apply data-driven ecosystem models to quantify rates of energy and biomass transfer between the epipelagic and deep-pelagic ecosystems that occur via trophic interactions and to estimate the consequences to ecosystem dynamics from perturbations in these linkages.