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Effects of rapid decompression and exposure to bright light on visual function in black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)
Brill, R.; Magel, C.; Davis, M.; Hannah, R.; Rankin, P. (2008). Effects of rapid decompression and exposure to bright light on visual function in black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). Fish. Bull. 100(4): 427-437
In: Fishery Bulletin. US Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0090-0656, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Brill, R.
  • Magel, C.
  • Davis, M.
  • Hannah, R.
  • Rankin, P.

Abstract
    Demersal fishes hauled up from depth experience rapid decompression. In physoclists, this can cause overexpansion of the swim bladder and resultant injuries to multiple organs (barotrauma), including severeexophthalmia (“pop-eye”). Before release, fishes can also be subjected to asphyxia and exposure to directsunlight. Little is known, however, about possible sensory deficits resulting from the events accompanyingcapture. To address this issue, electroretinography was used to measure the changes in retinal light sensitivity,flicker fusion frequency, and spectral sensitivity in black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) subjected to rapid decompression (from 4 atmospheres absolute [ATA] to 1 ATA) and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) exposed to 15 minutes of simulated sunlight. Rapid decompression had no measurable inf luence on retinal function in black rockfish. In contrast, exposure to bright light significantly reduced retinal light sensitivity of Pacif ic halibut, predominately by affecting the photopigment which absorbs the green wavelengths of light (≈520-580 nm) most strongly. This detriment is likely to have severe consequences for postrelease foraging success in green-wavelength-dominated coastal waters. The visual system of Pacific halibut has characteristics typical of species adapted to low light environments, and these characteristics may underlie their vulnerability to injury from exposure to bright light.

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