The Bulletin of Marine Science presents

Shining a light on fish at night

As the sun sets, most aquatic researchers pack up their gear and head home. Yet this is precisely the time when many fish are most active. Indeed, some of the planet’s greatest migrations occur at night when organisms rise toward the surface, creating massive pulses of biodiversity and biomass. In nearly every aquatic environment, from pelagic waters to coral reefs to headwater streams, what one observes by day can differ markedly from what is happening under the cover of darkness. In polar seas and at great depths, “night” can span, months, years, and beyond. Fish and fishers in these dark systems have adopted tactics and strategies that take advantage of low-light conditions and their study may offer solutions to problems in warmer, shallower habitats.

With this symposium, we hope to provide a forum for improving our understanding of the patterns and processes operating in fish ecology and fisheries during darkness. Neglecting the night has led to an incomplete understanding of marine organism ecology, population/community dynamics, and ecosystem function with consequences for conservation and management of fisheries resources. The ultimate and most important goal of the symposium is to produce a peer-reviewed dedicated volume that will capture the present state-of-knowledge of fish studies in the dark, identifying critical information gaps, and charting a course for future research and collaboration. Ultimately, we want to advance the current understanding of fish at night studies in the systems they occupy. This symposium will catalyze exchange of ideas, data, approaches, and methods pertinent to the symposium’s overarching theme. Simply put, we plan to shine a light on Fish at Night.