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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Nutrient flow and ecosystem structure in marine fish communities

Currently Active: 

Deep water ecosystems are relatively difficult to study, but increasingly vulnerable to human impacts. We use a range of trace element and isotope approaches to reconstruct life histories, track patterns of nutrient flow and benthic-pelagic coupling, and to identify trophic niches in deep water fish communities.

Top: Orange Roughy Bottom: Roundnose Grenadier. Two deep water species where life history has been revealed using stable isotopes
Roughy and Grenadier

Tracking migrations:

The chemical composition of otoliths is partially related to the water in which the fish lived.

By comparing otoligh chemistry between and within regions, we trace ontogenetic vertical and lateral migrations in deep water fish, and assess implications for management and evolutionary ecology.



  • How do deep sea communities (see trawled fish community figure) obtain and cycle nutrients?
  • How can we conserve them under increasing exploitation pressure?



A community of fish trawled from 1500m depth
Trawled fish community

Ecosystem function

Stable isotopes provide a method to track nutrient flow within ecosystems. We are applying these techniques to understand how nutrient fluxes drive ecosystem function along depth gradients on the continental slope.


Key Contacts

Dr. Clive Trueman (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Craig Longmore (Post Doctoral Researcher)

PhD and Other Opportunities


Associated research themes

Geochemical Ecology

Key Publication


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