Comparison of mesozooplankton assemblages across quasi-synoptic oceanographic features on the north-western Iberian shelf break
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The mesozooplankton community at the north-western Iberian shelf break was studied among adjacent oceanographic regimes (including upwelling, stratification and anticyclonic eddies) during 17 days in autumn 2009. Zooplankton sampling locations were determined in situ, after identifying the oceanographic regimes from CTD profiles performed over the continental shelf and upper slope. Zooplankton samples were sorted indentifying taxonomically the main zooplankton groups, from phylum to subclass. Copepods were the most abundant group (ind m−3) in all stations, followed by appendicularians, doliolids and siphonophores. The mesozooplankton community was significantly different amongst oceanographic conditions. Meroplankton abundance was higher in upwelling stations; particularly lamellibranchia, polychaeta and bryozoan larvae abundance, and decreased from early to late upwelling conditions. Medusae and chaetognata were found exclusively under the latter oceanographic regime. However, dissimilarity between the oceanographic conditions was mostly based on the varying contribution of the four most common groups.
KeywordsMesozooplankton Community structure Meroplankton–holoplankton rate Mesoscale oceanography Upwelling
The authors want to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions which greatly improved the quality of our manuscript. We also want to express our gratitude to several colleagues from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography-C.O. Santander, particularly to Dr. J. Gil who greatly contributed to the sampling design of this study, Joaquín Barrado and Ángel Merino for assistance with field work, to Dr. A. Serrano, Dr. A. Punzón and Dr. F. Velasco for allowing this experimental design onboard the Demersales IBTS survey, and generally to the crew and scientific team on the ‘Demersales 09’ survey. We must also acknowledge the Ocean Color Project (http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/), for maintaining the database of global satellite images freely available for research and educational purposes. LLL was supported during the development of this work by the IEO-FPI 2011/04 predoctoral fellowship.
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