Joel K. Llopiz's research while affiliated with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and other places

Publications (60)

Article
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The ocean’s vast twilight, or mesopelagic, zone (200–1,000 m depth) harbors immense biomass consisting of myriad poorly known and unique animal species whose quantity and diversity are likely considerably underestimated. As they facilitate the movement of carbon from surface waters to the deep sea through feeding and migratory behaviors, ocean twil...
Article
Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are commercially and ecologically valuable, but management is complicated by their highly migratory lifestyle. Recent collections of bluefin tuna larvae in the Slope Sea off northeastern United States have opened questions about how this region contributes to population dynamics. We analyzed larvae collected...
Article
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Northern sand lance (Ammodytes dubius) are among the most critically important forage fish throughout the Northeast US shelf. Despite their ecological importance, little is known about the larval transport of this species. Here, we use otolith microstruc-ture analysis to estimate hatch and settlement dates of sand lance and then use these measureme...
Article
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The European hake (Merluccius merluccius) is represented as one of the most valuable fisheries in the Galician shelf. We analyzed the distribution, abundance, and environmental conditions of the southern-stock European hake larvae from the Galician shelf during the two main spawning peaks, winter-spring and summer, based on the data from three icht...
Article
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The Northeast US shelf ecosystem is undergoing unprecedented changes due to long-term warming trends and shifts in regional hydrography leading to changes in community composition. However, it remains uncertain how shelf occupancy by the region's dominant, offshore small pelagic fishes, also known as forage fishes, has changed throughout the late 2...
Article
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Successful management and mitigation of marine challenges depends on cooperation and knowledge sharing which often occurs across culturally diverse geographic regions. Global ocean science collaboration is therefore essential for developing global solutions. Building effective global research networks that can enable collaboration also need to ensu...
Article
Mesobot , an autonomous underwater vehicle, addresses specific unmet needs for observing and sampling a variety of phenomena in the ocean’s midwaters. The midwater hosts a vast biomass, has a role in regulating climate, and may soon be exploited commercially, yet our scientific understanding of it is incomplete. Mesobot has the ability to survey an...
Technical Report
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Northern sandlance inhabit discontinuous sandbanks all along the northwest Atlantic shelf, but the connectivity and inter-reliance of these populations is currently not understood. We performed long-term (1990-2016) hydrodynamic drift simulations to investigate the spatial origin and fate of sandlance from Stellwagen Bank in the southern Gulf of Ma...
Article
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Animal biodiversity in the ocean’s vast mesopelagic zone is relatively poorly studied due to technological and logistical challenges. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses show great promise for efficiently characterizing biodiversity and could provide new insight into the presence of mesopelagic species, including those that are missed by traditional...
Article
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Northern sand lance (Ammodytes dubius) and Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) represent the dominant lipid-rich forage fish species throughout the Northeast US shelf and are critical prey for numerous top predators. However, unlike Atlantic herring, there is little research on sand lance or information about drivers of their abundance. We use intra...
Article
The mesopelagic zone covers a vast expanse of the World's oceans and contains some of the most abundant vertebrates on the planet. This mid-water region is central to the transfer of energy and carbon between the atmosphere and the deep, yet there are large knowledge gaps in our understanding of the life history of its animals. Here we synthesize t...
Article
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The Slope Sea in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, lying between the Gulf Stream and the continental shelf of the Northeast United States, is a recently-documented possible major spawning ground for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). Larval surveys and a habitat modeling study have shown that suitable spawning habitat occurs in the Slope Sea, but...
Article
Understanding the cues that drive larval fish settlement is critical for managing reef systems under stress. Reef sound is increasingly reported to influence fish recruitment, yet the physical and acoustic environment in which larval fish settle varies in space and time. Accordingly, testing potential settlement cues under different conditions is v...
Article
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In coral reefs and adjacent seagrass meadow and mangrove environments, short temporal scales (i.e. tidal, diurnal) may have important influences on ecosystem processes and community structure, but these scales are rarely investigated. This study examines how tidal and diurnal forcings influence pelagic microorganisms and nutrient dynamics in 3 impo...
Article
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Spatial relationships between predators and prey provide critical information for understanding and predicting climate‐induced shifts in ecosystem dynamics and mitigating human impacts. We used Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary as a case study to investigate spatial overlap among sand lance (Ammodytes dubius), a key forage fish species, and...
Article
Oceanic top predators, the marine ecosystems that support them and dependent socio-economic systems have been the subject of studies by researchers under the Climate Impacts on Oceanic Top Predators (CLIOTOP) regional programme since 2005. Research conducted under the programme has focused on how climate change is affecting the pelagic ocean, with...
Article
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The American sand lance (Ammodytes americanus, Ammodytidae) and the Northern sand lance (A. dubius, Ammodytidae) are small forage fishes that play an important functional role in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean (NWA). The NWA is a highly dynamic ecosystem currently facing increased risks from climate change, fishing and energy development. We need a b...
Article
Motivated by recent evidence of Atlantic bluefin tuna spawning in the Slope Sea, we investigated the spatio-temporal distribution of oceanographic conditions that are conducive to successful spawning by bluefin in this region. Specifically, we considered advection patterns and water temperatures based on a new high-resolution ocean circulation mode...
Article
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The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), one of the world’s largest marine protected areas, represents 11% of the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Kiribati, which earns much of its GDP by selling tuna fishing licenses to foreign nations. We have determined that PIPA is a spawning area for skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), bigeye (Thunnus o...
Article
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In this study we assessed the trophic ecology of bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus larvae from the Gulf of Mexico, together with the co-occurring larvae of blackfin tuna T. atlanticus, bullet tuna Auxis rochei, and skipjack Katsuwonus pelamis, using both bulk-tissue stable isotope analysis (SIAbulk) and compound-specific analysis of amino acids (CSIAAA)...
Article
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The heavy exploitation rates of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT) during the nineties propitiated research into the larval ecology of ABFT and its associated species. The transition from a planktivorous to a piscivorous diet is considered a major bottleneck in the survival of ABFT larvae observed in aquaculture experiments. Although larval piscivory was...
Article
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The settlement of reef-building corals is critical to the survival and recovery of reefs. Recent evidence indicates that coral larvae orient towards reef sound, yet the components of the acoustic environment that may attract coral larvae and induce settlement are unknown. Here we investigated the effects of ambient soundscapes on settlement of Pori...
Article
Small pelagic fishes represent a critical link between zooplankton and large predators. Yet, the taxonomic resolution of the diets of these important fishes is often limited, especially in the Northwest Atlantic. We examined in detail the diets, along with stable isotope signatures, of five dominant small pelagic species of the northeast US contine...
Article
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The ambient acoustic environment, or soundscape, is of broad interest in the study of marine ecosystems as both a source of rich sensory information to marine organisms and, more broadly, as a driver of the structure and function of marine communities. Increasing our understanding of how soundscapes affect and reflect ecological processes first req...
Article
Deep-water demersal fishes represent an understudied but ecologically important group of organisms. Select species of demersal fishes rely on pelagic prey items, representing a direct transport of surface carbon to greater depths. Barrelfish, Hyperoglyphe perciformis (Mitchell, 1818), which inhabit deep slope waters, are a species that has been sug...
Presentation
Recent evidence suggests soundscapes of coral reefs may provide acoustic cues that larval reef fish utilize during settlement. Seagrass and mangrove habitats are further important refuges for larvae and juveniles of many fishes; however, compared to reefs, less is known about the characteristics of tropical seagrass and mangrove soundscapes and the...
Article
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One of the major sources of mortality during the early life of fish is determined by their feeding ecology. The Atlantic bluefin tuna has been subject to heavy exploitation rates which has propitiated research in tuna larval ecology in recent times. This migratory top predator species spawns mainly in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Mediterranean. Th...
Conference Paper
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Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a migratory species that spawns in highly oligotrophic open waters off the Balearic archipielago during the months of June/July. The scarcity of feeding resources is a most critical issue for larval surviving, mainly in these oligotrophic scenarios. Stable isotope analysis aids revealing what fractions of the early...
Article
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The Great Lakes Fishery Commission sponsored a 2-day workshop that sought to enhance the ability of Great Lakes agencies to understand, predict, and ideally manage fisheries production in the face of changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings (e.g., climate, invasive species, and nutrients). The workshop brought together 18 marine and freshwater...
Conference Paper
Despite the economic and ecological importance of Atlantic bluefin tuna, we still have a poor understanding of the early life history of this species, including the factors governing larval survival. To better understand the trophodynamics of the larvae of bluefin tuna, a comparative study was conducted with larvae collected from the two most impor...
Article
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We review present understanding of the spatial and temporal diet variability (trophodynamics) of a range of pelagic marine top predators, at both early and adult life history stages. We begin with a review of methodologies used to advance our understanding of the trophodynamics of marine top predators, particularly in relation to climate change. We...
Article
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Pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) are capable of storing high-resolution behavioral and environmental information for extended periods of time (approximately 1 year), rendering them especially valuable for studying highly mobile species. In this review, we synthesize published PSAT data to understand the biophysical drivers that influence move...
Article
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We review present understanding of the spatial and temporal diet variability (trophodynamics) of a range of pelagic marine top predators, at both early and adult life history stages. We begin with a review of methodologies used to advance our understanding of the trophodynamics of marine top predators, particularly in relation to climate change. We...
Article
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In the past 100 years since the birth of fisheries oceanography, researchon the early life history of fishes, particularly the larval stage, has been extensive, and much progress has been made in identifying the mechanisms by which factors suchas feeding success, predation, or dispersal can influence larval survival. However, in recent years, the s...
Conference Paper
Atlantic bluefin tuna has the most spatially and temporally restricted spawning grounds of any Atlantic tuna. Although adult fish can tolerate near-freezing water temperatures, they migrate long distances to reach sub-tropical waters to spawn. In the western Atlantic, larvae have been collected only in the Gulf of Mexico and immediate surrounds, du...
Conference Paper
At the end of their life cycle, American eel migrate to the Sargasso Sea from freshwater habitats along the east coast of North America to spawn planktonic eggs. The eggs develop into larvae that then have to reach freshwater habitats along the American coast within their first year of life. The exact spawning location in the Sargasso Sea and detai...
Article
Scombroid fishes, including tunas, mackerels, and billfishes, constitute some of the most important fisheries in lower latitudes around the world. Though the early life stages of these taxa are relatively well-studied, worldwide patterns in larval feeding dynamics and how such patterns relate to environmental conditions are poorly resolved. We pres...
Article
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Variations in larval fish growth rates are largely the result of variability in biotic and abiotic characteristics of the feeding environment experienced by each individual. An assessment of an individual's overall feeding success (i.e. accumulation of utilizable organic matter) can best be achieved at the time of capture when the relationships amo...
Article
Several factors lead to expectations that the scale of larval dispersal and population connectivity of marine animals differs with latitude. We examine this expectation for demersal shorefishes, including relevant mechanisms, assumptions and evidence. We explore latitudinal differences in (i) biological (e.g. species composition, spawning mode, pel...
Article
The longtime focus on factors that influence the survival of marine fish larvae has yielded an extensive number of studies on larval fish diets and feeding success. In light of a recent increase in such studies within lower latitudes, results from the peer-reviewed literature were synthesized to examine both latitudinal and taxonomic differences in...
Article
We review intrinsic traits of the early life stages of marine fishes to gain a better understanding of how climate-driven changes in abiotic (temperature) and biotic (match–mismatch dynamics with prey) factors may differ among taxonomic groups and/or habitats (from low to high latitudes). Intrinsic traits related to the thermal sensitivity of devel...
Article
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The great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) is a widespread, ecologically and socioeconomically important coastal fish, yet very little is known about its larvae. We examined spawning and larval ecology of Western Atlantic sphyraenids using monthly ichthyoplankton samples collected over 2years along a transect spanning the east–west axis of the Strai...
Article
Critical gaps in our understanding of the distributions, interactions, life histories and preferred habitats of large and medium-size pelagic fishes severely constrain the implementation of ecosystem-based, spatially structured fisheries management approaches. In particular, spawning distributions and the environmental characteristics associated wi...
Article
Monthly plankton sampling across the Straits of Florida (SOF) allowed for a thorough investigation of the feeding ecologies of four taxa of larval tunas (family Scombridae, tribe Thunnini) and the horizontal and vertical distributions of tuna larvae and their dominant prey. Before piscivory, Thunnus spp. larvae had a mixed diet of crustaceans and a...
Article
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Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) larvae were collected from 10monthly cruises (June–October 2003 and 2004) across the Straits of Florida to test (1) whether growth differed between the more productive western region near the Florida shelf, and the less productive eastern region toward the Bahamas, and...
Article
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In an effort to foster collaboration among researchers across diverse ecosystems, a group of early career scientists whose interests span the aquatic sciences, convened at the University of Hawai'i to participate in the 2008 Eco-DAS symposium. During a break out session of the symposium in which participants were charged with discussing how to best...
Article
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Fish spawning populations are complex and affected by many factors acting over temporal, spatial, and demographic scales. To better understand these factors, we chose to study spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus, which has closed populations over small spatial scales and a periodic life-history pattern. We used experimental gill nets and hook and...
Article
Fronts and eddies are widely hypothesized to be critical spawning habitat for large pelagic fishes, due to increased larval and/or adult feeding opportunities at these features. We examined sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) spawning around a cyclonic, submesoscale (∼13 × 7 km) Florida Current frontal eddy. The temporal progression of eddy dynamics...
Article
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Successful feeding and fast growth is thought to be critical for surviving the pelagic lar- val stage of benthic marine fishes, yet few measures of these processes are available for tropical reef fishes. We tested the hypothesis that larvae experience faster growth in more productive coastal waters due to increased prey availability. We examined sp...
Article
The transport of larval coral reef fishes to juvenile habitat inherently requires that they survive the planktonic journey; however, the processes governing survival — particularly those related to feeding — are not well known. Monthly sampling across the Straits of Florida allowed for analyses of the diets and diet variability of several co-occurr...
Article
The oligotrophic open ocean of low latitudes is larval fish habitat for a diversity of resi- dent and migratory species. It is hypothesized that these waters, relative to coastal regions, yield reduced predation mortality, but little is known regarding the feeding and feeding environment of these larvae and the extent to which a nutritional tradeof...
Article
The processes influencing larval fish survival in the low-latitude open ocean are poorly understood, especially with regard to feeding. As part of a large-scale study that included two years of monthly sampling in the Straits of Florida (SOF), the objectives of this dissertation were to elucidate the larval fish feeding behaviors and strategies of...
Article
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The gonads of 11 adult female blue marlin (Makaira nigricans Lacépède, 1803) caught mostly in July in Bermuda waters (2002-2005), and ranging in weight from 242-465 kg, were evaluated histologically for reproductive status. The gonadosomatic index (GSI) of these specimens ranged from 0.7096-6.22%; specimens with a GSI ≥ 3 were reproductively active...
Article
Recruitment levels of fishes are potentially related to the abundance of larval fishes and their food source. A system that could allow for the concurrent investigation of fine-scale distribution of fish larvae and their potential prey could add significantly to the understanding of the early life history of marine fishes. A coupled Multiple Openin...
Data
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White marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) are widely distributed throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas; the former species is endemic only to the Atlantic Ocean (Mather et al., 1975). Genetic analyses and tag recapture data have indicated that each spe-cies has a single Atl...
Article
Historical interest in understanding the larval stage of high-latitude fishes has provided extensive insight into feeding-related processes that can influence larval fish mortality. However, the feeding dynamics of larvae that occur in lower latitudes, especially those that primarily inhabit oceanic waters, is notably limited. From monthly sampling...

Citations

... Each component is complementary while simultaneously representing different processes of market squid dynamics: (1) recruitment preceding the survey; (2) suitability of habitat allowing a squid to occupy a location; and (3) localized aggregation behaviour that modulates haul-specific catch observations. An advantage of the three-step approach is that model output for each step may have utility for different comparisons, including population-scale dynamics (recruitment), predicted shifts in habitat occupancy (presence/absence), and local catchability (haul-specific abundance; Suca et al., 2021). The stratum-specific recruitment model serves to identify the drivers of overall abundance of market squid in a survey stratum linked to interannual variability in spawning and paralarval and juvenile growth/survival conditions leading up to and during the sur- vey. ...
... When spawning locations (i.e., 'sources') are known, particles can be tracked forwards-in-time, providing estimates of settlement magnitude that can be related to observed settlement and recruitment or patterns in fisheries productivity (Everett et al., 2017;Schilling et al., 2020). Conversely, when spawning locations are unknown (or poorly defined), particles can be tracked backwards-in-time from known settlement locations (i.e., 'sinks'), providing estimates of putative spawning locations and recruitment origins (Hernández et al., 2022;Putman & Naro-Maciel, 2013;Torrado et al., 2021). ...
... research efforts in recent years, which have focused on sand lance from the southern Gulf of Maine (e.g. Stellwagen Bank), Cape Cod, and Nantucket Shoals (Silva et al., 2020;Suca et al., 2021;Baumann et al., 2022;Suca et al., 2022). What remains unresolved, but has clear conservation implications, is the genetic structure and population connectivity of A. dubius across its entire geographic distribution on the NWA. ...
... This spatial pattern also applies to hake's larval distribution. While in late winter hake larvae were distributed alongshore over the study area (Rodríguez et al., 2015b), larvae were more concentrated within the boundaries of an anticyclonic eddy in summer (García-Fernández et al., 2021). ...
... Formal education systems involve curriculum-based learning in education and research institutions (e.g., universities), which house most ECOPs at some point in their career, with many programs being highly specialized within a single field. Today, there is growing demand for interdisciplinary training [54], where ECOPs work across cognate fields within and across social and natural science realms [59][60][61]. It also involves collaborating and exchanging knowledge across policy, science, and practitioner divides [62]. ...
... Jiang et al. (2022) have proposed to construct a movable laboratory that includes a mothership and several full-ocean-depth autonomous and remotely operated vehicles to obtain samples in the hadal trenches. Yoerger et al. (2021) have developed an AUV to address the specific unmet needs for observing and sampling a variety of phenomena in the ocean, including environment and biodiversity. However, the abovementioned devices are driven by underwater screw propellers, which will severely disturb the water body and sediment. ...
... The amplified DNA fragments are sequenced and then assigned to species or taxa using available genetic databases (e.g., European Nucleotide Archive (ENA); Taberlet et al., 2012). eDNA metabarcoding has high potential to study and reveal deep-sea biodiversity since it overcomes most difficulties inherent to classical methods (Brandt et al., 2021;Govindarajan et al., 2021;McClenaghan et al., 2020). For example, Visser et al. (2021) described deep-sea cephalopod communities along the water column (between 50 and 1600 m depth) around Terceira Island using eDNA metabarcoding. ...
... research efforts in recent years, which have focused on sand lance from the southern Gulf of Maine (e.g. Stellwagen Bank), Cape Cod, and Nantucket Shoals (Silva et al., 2020;Suca et al., 2021;Baumann et al., 2022;Suca et al., 2022). What remains unresolved, but has clear conservation implications, is the genetic structure and population connectivity of A. dubius across its entire geographic distribution on the NWA. ...
... It has been reported that these species have evolved several adaptations for living in a low-oxygen environment, including reduced metabolic rates and enhanced gas exchange mechanisms (Childress & Seibel, 1998). Low basal metabolic rates are probably related to non-visual hunting (Childress &Thuesen, 1992), as occurs in C. braueri (Badcock & Merrett, 1976 (Palma, 1990;Valls et al., 2014;Bernal et al., 2015;Olivar et al., 2019), implying lower mobility requirements, which would result in higher energy reserves (Caiger et al., 2021). ...
... Their exceptional nutritional quality and high local abundance sustain commercial fish stocks (e.g. cod, tuna) and often promote spatial aggregations of iconic piscivores such as sharks, seabirds, and marine mammals (Engelhard et al., 2014;Silva et al., 2020). Some sand lance species are targeted commercially for oil and meal (Lynam et al., 2013), as for example in the North Sea, where peak landings of >1 million tons annually (van Deurs et al., 2009;ICES, 2010) caused declines of seabird and marine mammal populations in the late 1990s (Furness, 1999;Furness and Tasker, 2000;Daunt et al., 2008). ...