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The Antarctic fish fauna from outer continental shelf/upper slope depths is under-sampled compared to that of the inner shelf, and there are limited quantitative data available on absolute abundance and taxonomic change with depth. A photographic survey of demersal fishes was conducted along a depth-gradient of 400–2099 m on the outer shelf and upper slope west of Anvers Island, Palmer Archipelago. A total of 1490 fishes were identified at least to the family level. Notothenioids composed 52.7% of absolute abundance and non-notothenioids 47.3%. The most abundant families were Nototheniidae (39.4%), followed by Macrouridae (28.9%), Zoarcidae (16.9%), and Channichthyidae (12.1%). The most abundant species were the notothenioids Lepidonotothen squamifrons (30.5%) and Chionobathyscus dewitti (11.7%), and the non-notothenioid Macrourus spp. (29.5%). The absolute abundance of all fishes peaked at 400–599 m. Depths of maximum abundance were 400–599 m for L. squamifrons, 700–1499 m for Macrourus spp., and 900–1499 for C. dewitti. At 700–999 m the abundance shifted from primarily notothenioids to the non-notothenioids Macrourus spp. and zoarcids. Fishes of the outer shelf and upper slope are not provincialized like those of the inner shelf and are circum-Antarctic.
We reviewed photographic images of fishes from depths of 381–2282 m in Marguerite Bay and 405–2007 m in the Amundsen Sea. Marguerite Bay fishes were 33% notothenioids and 67% non-notothenioids. Channichthyids (47%) and nototheniids (44%) were the most abundant notothenioids. The deep-living channichthyid Chionobathyscus dewitti (74%) and the nototheniid genus Trematomus (66%) were the most abundant taxa within these two families. The most abundant non-notothenioids were the macrourid Macrourus whitsoni (72%) and zoarcids (18%). Amundsen Sea fishes were 87% notothenioids and 13% non-notothenioids, the latter exclusively Macrourus whitsoni. Bathydraconids (38%) and artedidraconids (30%) were the most abundant notothenioids. We observed that Macrourus whitsoni was benthopelagic and benthic and infested by large ectoparasitic copepods. Juvenile (42 cm) Dissostichus mawsoni was not neutrally buoyant and resided on the substrate at 1277 m. Lepidonotothen squamifrons was seen near and on nests of eggs in early December. A Pogonophryne sp. from 2127 m was not a member of the deep-living unspotted P. albipinna group. Chionobathyscus dewitti inhabited the water column as well as the substrate. The pelagic zoarcid Melanostigma gelatinosum was documented in the water column a few metres above the substrate. The zoogeographic character of the Marguerite Bay fauna was West Antarctic or low-Antarctic and the Amundsen Sea was East Antarctic or high-Antarctic.
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