Marine Biology

, Volume 155, Issue 4, pp 429–442 | Cite as

The life cycles of two coexisting copepods, Calanus chilensis and Centropages brachiatus, in the upwelling zone off northern Chile (23°S)

  • Pamela HidalgoEmail author
  • Ruben Escribano
Original Paper


A time series study of the copepods Calanus chilensis and Centropages brachiatus was carried out at the coastal upwelling zone of Mejillones (23°S, northern Chile), to analyze their annual life cycles in association with upwelling variation. These species co-exist in the upwelling zone. Weekly sampling of zooplankton and oceanographic variables including Chlorophyll-a and phytoplankton composition were obtained during January–December 2002 at a fixed station (ca. 90 m depth). Stages of abundances, their proportions, changes in body length of adult females, sex ratio and egg production rate (EPR), were used as proxies to examine copepods’ demography. Upwelling, assessed by weekly Ekman transport and oceanographic conditions, was intermittent throughout the year with lack of periodicity components. Populations of both copepod species did not correlate with these non-predictable upwelling events. C. chilensis reproduced year-round and the population showed ca. 15 peaks of adults with an average time interval between peaks of 20 days. C. brachiatus showed a similar life cycle, also having 15 peaks of adults at about 22 days of time intervals. Cross-correlation functions and spectral analysis showed that both populations correlated positively through time, but not in phase, evidencing a time lag for their reproductive cycles. The lag was also evident in their population abundances. Both species differ in their development rates and this may result in non-in phase life cycles. Our findings suggest that species-dependent attributes, such as development rates, modulated by adaptations to temperature, might impose constraints in the species life cycles determining the population cycles. Such attributes must be considered when modeling and understanding population dynamics and secondary production of copepods.


Population Abundance Thermocline Depth Oxygen Minimum Zone Annual Life Cycle Copepod Population 
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This work was funded by FONDAP COPAS Center and CENSOR (Climate Variability and the El Niño southern oscillation: implications for natural resources and management) project funded by the EU Commission, Grant INCO 511071, and FONDECYT Postdoctoral Fund of CONICYT Chile, Grant: No 3070002 to P. Hidalgo. We are grateful to Universidad de Antofagasta for supporting the time series at Mejillones, and M. Oliva, M. Rojo and L. Figueroa for assisting us with a highly laborious sampling. Comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers proved highly valuable to improve earlier versions of the work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Biología MarinaUniversidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  2. 2.Departamento de Oceanografía, Center for Oceanographic Research in the Eastern South Pacific (COPAS)Universidad de Concepción, Estación de Biología Marina, DichatoConcepciónChile

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