Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 4, pp 1309–1320 | Cite as

Overwintering strategies of dominant calanoid copepods in the German Bight, southern North Sea

  • A. WescheEmail author
  • K. H. Wiltshire
  • H. J. Hirche
Research Article


Abundance, stage composition and reproductive parameters (egg production, egg viability, proportion of spawning females) of the four copepod species Acartia clausi, Centropageshamatus, C. typicus and Temora longicornis were measured at the long term sampling station Helgoland Roads (German Bight, southern North Sea) from September 2003 to May 2004 to study their overwintering strategies. A. clausi was overwintering as females with arrested reproduction from November to January. T. longicornis, which is known to produce resting eggs in the North Sea, had a pelagic population with all developmental stages present during winter and reproductive rates closely related to food concentrations. Although their females produced eggs in response to ambient food conditions, both C. hamatus and C. typicus were rare in the pelagic. The C. hamatus population returned in May, probably from resting eggs, whereas C. typicus depended on advection. The Centropages species seemed to be less adapted to pelagic life in winter than A. clausi and T. longicornis. Sporadic occurrence of large numbers of nauplii and young copepodids of A. clausi and Centropages spp. pointed to different overwintering strategies or more successful survival in adjacent regions and advection of them into the waters around Helgoland island. While A. clausi was decoupled from environmental conditions in late autumn and winter, the other species were able to respond to variations in the food environment. Thus, egg production of T. longicornis increased during an unusual autumn diatom bloom.


Phytoplankton German Bight Calanoid Copepod Copepodite Stage Prosome Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the crew of RV ‘Aade’ of the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (BAH) for reliable plankton sampling and logistic support. Thanks are due to the biological oceanography group of the BAH for determining hydrography and phytoplankton, to U. Holtz for measuring copepod prosome lengths, and to M. Boersma for critical comments on the manuscript. R. Schwamborn and T. Brey helped with the statistics. This study was funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) as a part of the GLOBEC-Germany program (03F0320C).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Biologische Anstalt HelgolandAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchHelgolandGermany

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