The biology and ecology of the ocean sunfish Mola mola: a review of current knowledge and future research perspectives

The biology and ecology of the ocean sunfish Mola mola: a review of current knowledge and future... Relatively little is known about the biology and ecology of the world’s largest (heaviest) bony fish, the ocean sunfish Mola mola, despite its worldwide occurrence in temperate and tropical seas. Studies are now emerging that require many common perceptions about sunfish behaviour and ecology to be re-examined. Indeed, the long-held view that ocean sunfish are an inactive, passively drifting species seems to be entirely misplaced. Technological advances in marine telemetry are revealing distinct behavioural patterns and protracted seasonal movements. Extensive forays by ocean sunfish into the deep ocean have been documented and broad-scale surveys, together with molecular and laboratory based techniques, are addressing the connectivity and trophic role of these animals. These emerging molecular and movement studies suggest that local distinct populations may be prone to depletion through bycatch in commercial fisheries. Rising interest in ocean sunfish, highlighted by the increase in recent publications, warrants a thorough review of the biology and ecology of this species. Here we review the taxonomy, morphology, geography, diet, locomotion, vision, movements, foraging ecology, reproduction and species interactions of M. mola. We present a summary of current conservation issues and suggest methods for addressing fundamental gaps in our knowledge. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries Springer Journals

The biology and ecology of the ocean sunfish Mola mola: a review of current knowledge and future research perspectives

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology ; Freshwater & Marine Ecology
ISSN
0960-3166
eISSN
1573-5184
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11160-009-9155-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Relatively little is known about the biology and ecology of the world’s largest (heaviest) bony fish, the ocean sunfish Mola mola, despite its worldwide occurrence in temperate and tropical seas. Studies are now emerging that require many common perceptions about sunfish behaviour and ecology to be re-examined. Indeed, the long-held view that ocean sunfish are an inactive, passively drifting species seems to be entirely misplaced. Technological advances in marine telemetry are revealing distinct behavioural patterns and protracted seasonal movements. Extensive forays by ocean sunfish into the deep ocean have been documented and broad-scale surveys, together with molecular and laboratory based techniques, are addressing the connectivity and trophic role of these animals. These emerging molecular and movement studies suggest that local distinct populations may be prone to depletion through bycatch in commercial fisheries. Rising interest in ocean sunfish, highlighted by the increase in recent publications, warrants a thorough review of the biology and ecology of this species. Here we review the taxonomy, morphology, geography, diet, locomotion, vision, movements, foraging ecology, reproduction and species interactions of M. mola. We present a summary of current conservation issues and suggest methods for addressing fundamental gaps in our knowledge.

Journal

Reviews in Fish Biology and FisheriesSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 19, 2010

References

  • Do reefs drive diversification in marine teleosts? Evidence from the pufferfish and their allies (order Tetraodontiformes)
    Alfaro, ME; Santini, F; Brock, CD
  • Evolutionary divergence among lineages of the ocean sunfish family, Molidae (Tetraodontiformes)
    Bass, AL; Dewar, H; Thys, T; Streelman, JT; Karl, SA

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