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Replacement of large copepods by small ones with eutrophication of embayments: cause and consequence

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Species and size compositions of the planktonic copepod community were compared between two eutrophic embayments, Tokyo Bay and Osaka Bay. Within these bays, the median body weight of the community was lowest at the innermost station and increased gradually offshore. In Tokyo Bay, which is more eutrophic than Osaka Bay, the dominant species was Oithona davisae and the median carbon weight of the community was ca 0.1 µg. In Osaka Bay, Paracalanus sp., Calanus sinicus and Corycaeus spp. were dominant and the median weight was 1–2 order of magnitude higher (2–78 µg) than in Tokyo Bay. Some 40 years ago, when eutrophication was less prominent, Acartia omorii, Paracalanus sp. and Microsetella norvegica comprised a considerable portion of the community in Tokyo Bay. The proliferation of O. davisae might have been caused with the recent change in food particle composition and/or dissociated life cycle of this species from the benthic anoxic layer. Decrease in the size composition of the copepod community may make the embayment ecosystem unfavorable for planktivorous fish, but not for jellyfish, e.g. Aurelia and Bolinopsis. This may also result in an acceleration of the flux of biogenic materials from the embayment to the outer ocean.

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Uye, S. Replacement of large copepods by small ones with eutrophication of embayments: cause and consequence. Hydrobiologia 292, 513–519 (1994).

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Key words

  • size composition
  • eutrophication
  • ecosystem
  • Osaka Bay
  • Tokyo Bay