Tracking ocean sunfish off southern California

Mola Mola Research


Dasyatis lata Research


Fine-scale movement patterns of the ocean sunfish, Mola mola, off the coast of southern California, as determined by acoustic telemetry.
D. Cartamil & C. Lowe
Ocean sunfish are large pelagic fish commonly found off the coast of southern California, particularly in late summer and fall.In fact, they comprise over 25% of the total catch of the California drift gillnet fishery.

Our goals in studying Mola mola are a) to devise ways of reducing incidental bycatch of the ocean sunfish in drift gillnets, and b) further our knowledge of the biology of this little known species.

Much of what is presently ‘known’ about ocean sunfish is speculative and/or based on anecdotal information.  Our research utilizes temperature and depth-sensing acoustic transmitters, in conjunction with YSI sonde deployments and in situ observations, to characterize diel patterns of movement, diving behavior and environmental and oceanographic preferences of this species off of Santa Catalina Island.

The results of this project have been published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2004, Vol. 266, p 245-253.  
This research is funded by PADI Aware
Foundation, Blue Planet Foundation, and NHK Films, Japan.
Additional support has been provided by CSULB Dept. of Biological Sciences.

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