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Occurrence of cyclopoid copepods and faecal material in the Halley Bay region, Antarctica, during January–February 1991

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Faecal material and cyclopoid copepods were collected during the expedition ANT IX/3, in the Halley Bay area (Weddell Sea, Antarctica), between January and February 1991. Faecal material comprised pellets produced by krill, copepods, ostracods and appendicularians. Cyclopoid copepods were represented by two genera, Oithona and Oncaea. In the Halley Bay area, higher concentrations of krill faecal material (420.9 mm3 m−2) and chl.-a (39.3 mg m−2) were found within the upper 200 m of the water column of the polynya than in ice-covered open-ocean areas (58.2 mm3m−2 and 25.5 mg m−2, respectively). At an ice-drift station, high concentrations of krill faecal strings under fest-ice were found. In addition, similarities between diatom assemblages in the pack-ice algae and krill faecal strings contents suggest an active utilization of ice-algae by krill populations. Sedimented material collected at 50 m depth by a sediment trap was dominated by krill faecal strings. Contents of small oval pellets (of probable cyclopoid copepod origin) resemble those of krill faecal pellets suggesting that coprophagy was involved. This suggestion is supported by: (1) The small quantity of food particles (other than krill faecal matter) available in the water column (< 0.3 μg chl.-al−1). (2) The negative in situ correlation between krill faecal strings and cyclopoid copepods. (3) The structure of cyclopoid copepod buccal appendages, which are more adapted for raptorial feeding.

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González, H.E., Kurbjeweit, F. & Bathmann, U.V. Occurrence of cyclopoid copepods and faecal material in the Halley Bay region, Antarctica, during January–February 1991. Polar Biol 14, 331–342 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00238449

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  • Water Column
  • Faecal Pellet
  • Sediment Trap
  • Diatom Assemblage
  • Food Particle