Lanternfish (Myctophidae) Zoogeography off Eastern Australia: A Comparison with Physicochemical Biogeography Academic Article uri icon


  • In this first attempt to model the distributions of a mesopelagic fish family at this scale in the eastern Australian region (10°S to 57°S), lanternfish species occurrence data spanning a period from 1928 to 2010 were modelled against environmental covariates. This involved: (1) data collation and taxonomic quality checking, (2) classification of trawls into "horizontal" (presence-absence) and "oblique" (presence-only) types, and classification of vertical migration patterns using existing literature and the species occurrence database, (3) binomial GAMs using presence-absence data for representative temperate, subtropical and tropical species to examine depth interactions with environmental covariates and refine the selection of environmental layers for presence-only MAXENT models, (4) Presence-only MAXENT modelling using data from all trawls and the reduced environmental layers, and (5) Multivariate analysis (area-wise and species-wise) of the resulting matrix of logistic score by geographic pixel. We test the hypothesis that major fronts in the region (Tasman Front, Subtropical Convergence, Subantarctic Front) represent zoogeographic boundaries. A four-region zoogeographic scheme is hypothesised: Coral Sea region, Subtropical Lower Water region, Subtropical Convergence/South Tasman region and Subantarctic region. The Tasman Front, Subtropical Convergence and Subantarctic Front represented zoogeographic boundaries. An additional boundary at ∼25°S (coined the 'Capricorn' boundary) was adopted to delineate the Coral Sea from Subtropical Lower Water regions. Lanternfish zoogeographic regions are congruent with some aspects of two prevailing physicochemical biogeographic schema in the region, but neither of these schema alone accurately predicts lanternfish distributions. As lanternfishes integrate vertical ocean processes, the hypothesised lanternfish zoogeography may represent a useful model for a generalised pelagic biogeography that should be tested for other oceanic groups.

publication date

  • 2013