Adrian Flynn

Research Associate, Ichthyology

Adrian Flynn
Adrian Flynn
Source: Museum Victoria


Adrian graduated with a Bachelor of Science from La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, and conducted postgraduate research into the ecology of the big-bellied seahorse in Tasmania, obtaining a BSc Honours degree from the University of Tasmania, Hobart, in 1994. After working in a number of roles for government marine fisheries research departments in Tasmania, Adrian spent some eight years as an environmental consultant, undertaking baseline and environmental impact studies for government and industries such as mining, and oil and gas. This work sent Adrian to all corners of the globe and was the beginning of his forays into deep sea biology, undertaking studies in remote locations for several high-profile projects. Adrian made the leap back into research and commenced a PhD in 2007.

Adrian is studying the ecology and biogeography of lanternfishes (and other mesopelagic fishes) at The University of Queensland. He is a Research Associate at Museum Victoria and is also co-supervised by CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart.

Current activities

There are three main themes to Adrian’s research:

Regional Ecology of Lanternfishes
Lanternfishes are one of the most common fishes of the mesopelagic zone, the open ocean water column from 200 – 1000 m water depth. These species are also the main component of the nightly vertical migration of deep-sea biomass into surface waters, believed to be the largest migration of biomass on the planet.  However, little is known of the ecology of this group of fishes in Australian waters, and there are certainly taxonomic problems to resolve. Adrian is profiling the ecology of lanternfishes in several key locations, particularly in Australia’s subtropical and tropical waters, where there has been very little sampling of the deep-sea environment.

Role of Oceanography and Geomorphology in structuring Lanternfish populations
Adrian is investigating the role of oceanography and geomorphology in the dictating how lanternfishes are distributed vertically and horizontally. Most of these fishes complete their life-cycle entirely in the water column, never encountering the seafloor. Adrian’s research suggests that oceanographic structure, and interactions with geomorphic features, influences species assemblages, how communities are distributed, trophic relationships and how higher-order predators interact with these fishes.

Eastern Australian Lanternfish Biogeography
The culmination of Adrian’s research will be a biogeographical study of lanternfishes in eastern Australian waters. This will provide a new understanding of population structure from the tropics to the Antarctic. As a model for the mesopelagic fishes generally, this study will aim to identify mesopelagic bioregions and relate these to physical habitat characteristics that could be creating faunal boundaries.

Last updated 2 February 2010