We examined the taxonomic resolution of zooplankton data required to identify ocean basin scale biogeographic zonation in the Southern Ocean. A 2,154 km transect was completed south of Australia. Sea surface temperature (SST) measured at 1 min intervals showed that seven physical zones were sampled. Zooplankton were collected at a spatial resolution of ~9.2 km with a continuous plankton recorder, identified to the highest possible taxonomic resolution and enumerated. Zooplankton assemblage similarity between samples was calculated using the Bray–Curtis index for the taxonomic levels of species, genus, family, order and class after first log10(x + 1) (LA) and then presence/absence (PA) transformation of abundance data. Although within and between zone sample similarity increased with decreasing taxonomic resolution, for both data transformations, cluster analysis demonstrated that the biogeographic separation of zones remained at all taxonomic levels when using LA data. ANOSIM confirmed this, detecting significant differences in zooplankton assemblage structure between all seven a priori determined physical zones for all taxonomic levels when using the LA data. In the case of the PA data for the complete data set, and both LA and PA data for a crustacean only data set, no significant differences were detected between zooplankton assemblages in the Polar frontal zone (PFZ) and inter-PFZ at any taxonomic level. Loss of information at resolutions below the species level, particularly in the PA data, prevented the separation of some zones. However, the majority of physical zones were biogeographically distinct from species level to class using both LA and PA transformations. Significant relationships between SST and zooplankton community structure, summarised as NMDS scores, at all taxonomic levels, for both LA and PA transformations, and complete and crustacean only data sets, highlighted the biogeographic relevance of low resolution taxonomic data. The retention of biogeographic information in low taxonomic resolution data shows that data sets collected with different taxonomic resolutions may be meaningfully merged for the post hoc generation of Southern Ocean time series.
Foraminifera Southern Ocean Taxonomic Level Antarctic Circumpolar Current Taxonomic Resolution
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We would like to thank Kunio Takahashi, and the Master and crew of the RV ‘‘Tangaroa’’ for collecting the CPR samples, Tsuneo Odate for making available the underway data, and the Australian government for funding this research project.
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