New Ocean, New Fish Species
September 7, 2012
This is the first time I’m in Pacific waters. Normally I work with fishes in Atlantic waters near Svalbard or Greenland, but several species I see here are very similar, or the same species, as we have back home.
That goes for both vertebrates and invertebrates. But what is the relationship between them and are they really the same species?
On this cruise, I’m cooperating with Catherine Mecklenburg in order to make an illustrated identification guide for the Pacific Arctic fishes. Most species are restricted to this side of the Arctic, but as we move north and down into Atlantic water, we encounter Atlantic fishes. This is very exciting, and we believe more species could have a continuous distribution around the Arctic Central Basin.
One fish group is missing from the Chukchi Sea, and that is the skates (Rajidae). Several Pacific species are found in deeper regions of the Bering Sea, and one species is found in all Arctic seas, including Beaufort and East Siberian Seas.
This Atlantic species, called the Arctic skate (Amblyraja hyperborea), should be here…we just haven’t caught it yet!