The distribution of pelagic sound scattering layers across the southwest Indian Ocean

Philipp H. Boersch-Supan, Alex D. Rogers, Andrew S. Brierley

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Shallow and deep scattering layers (SLs) were surveyed with split-beam echosounders across the southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) to investigate their vertical and geographical distribution. Cluster analysis was employed to objectively classify vertical backscatter profiles. Correlations between backscatter and environmental covariates were modelled using generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) with spatial error structures. Structurally distinct SL regimes were found across the Subantarctic Front. GAMMs indicated a close relationship between sea surface temperature and mean volume backscatter, with significantly elevated backscatter in the subtropical convergence zone. The heterogeneous distribution of scattering layer biota reflects the biogeographic zonation of the survey area and is likely to have implications for predator foraging and carbon cycling in the Indian Ocean.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-121
Number of pages14
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Early online date14 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Backscatter
  • Echosounders
  • Scattering layers
  • Vertical profiles


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