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Shining a Light on Fish at Night

By Diana Udel

Shining a Light on Fish at Night

By Diana Udel
Fish At Night, science symposium to take place in Miami in November.

MIAMI – Ahhh…a moonlight swim. The ocean at night can be enjoyed along with unseen inhabitants brushing up against you or nipping your toe, and topped off with that mesmerizing bioluminescent glow. But, have you ever wondered what is happening beneath the surface at night? At the 2015 Fish at Night Symposium, scientists will be shining a light on the activities of fishes and other ocean inhabitants at night.

Hosted by the Bulletin of Marine Science, Fish at Night is a scientific symposium designed to stimulate the exchange of new knowledge, data, and ideas on behaviors, patterns, and processes happening underwater, in darkness. The unique night-time symposium will be held at the Sonesta Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida on Nov. 18-25, 2015.

As the sun sets, many researchers pack up their gear and head home. Yet this is precisely when fish are most active. Some of the planet’s greatest migrations occur at night when organisms rise toward the surface, creating massive pulses of life. In nearly every aquatic environment – from the open ocean and near-shore coral reefs to headwater streams – what is happening by day can differ greatly under the cover of darkness. In polar seas and at great depths, “night” can span, months, years, and beyond. Both fish and fishers have adopted tactics and strategies that take advantage of low-light conditions and their study may offer solutions to problems in warmer, shallower habitats.

Neglecting night-time studies has led to an incomplete understanding of marine ecology, and ecosystem function that has consequences for fish conservation and management. The symposium will provide a forum to bring together current knowledge to improve scientific understanding of fish ecology and fisheries during darkness.

The symposium conveners will produce a dedicated, peer-reviewed volume in the Bulletin of Marine Science that captures the present state-of-knowledge of fish studies in the dark, identifying critical information gaps, and charting a course for future research and collaboration. This symposium will catalyze the exchange of ideas, data, approaches, and methods pertinent to the symposium’s overarching theme.

Fish at Night is also partnering with Beneath the Waves film festival to showcase films about night-time ocean science and ocean adventures during the week-long event.  For more information, and to register, visit:

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About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit: