Fish-falls’ provide deep-sea bounty

The decomposing remains of large fish can feed a marine community for weeks, or even months.

A team of British researchers from Plymouth University and the National Oceanography Centre observed the remains of four large elasmobranchs ‒ namely, a whale shark (Rhincodon typus) and three mobulid rays (genus Mobula) ‒ that had fallen to the Atlantic sea floor.

They found that a single whale shark carcass, although not as long-lasting as a mammalian carcass or “whale-fall”, can sustain a moderate community of scavenging fish for about three months.

The researchers speculate that such “fish-falls” also play a major role in transporting carbon from the sea surface to the deeper ocean.

Read more at Plymouth University