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Figure 1. These skipjack tunas...Click to Enlarge Image

Most people are familiar with the migratory behavior of terrestrial animals, but even specialists know little about the migrations of marine species. Among these deep-sea wanderers are so-called pelagic fishes, which inhabit the wide expanse of oceanic waters far from the coast. The lack of knowledge about the behavior and ecology of such species has hindered efforts to maintain healthy populations, especially in the face of strong pressure from human fishers. In this article, Klimley, Richert and Jorgensen describe their research in the Gulf of California, where they observe that pelagic fishes often form seasonal groups, or assemblages, that migrate between shallow seamounts and similar topographic features in the ocean. Their analyses of seamount ecosystems promises to aid the work of conservationists and fisheries managers who seek to preserve the diversity and quantity of pelagic fish.

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