Differences in planktonic ciliate spatial distribution in spring and autumn in the southern Yellow Sea
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Seasonal variation of marine plankton spatial distribution is important in understanding the biological processes in the ocean. In this study, we studied spatial distribution of planktonic ciliate abundance and biomass in the central deep area (station depth greater than 60 m) and the coastal shallow area (station depth less than 60 m) of the southern Yellow Sea (32°–36.5°N, 121°–125°E) in spring (April) and autumn (October–November) of 2006. Our results showed that both ciliate abundance and biomass in the surface waters were higher in spring ((1 490±2 336) ind./L; (4.11±7.81) μg/L) than in autumn ((972±823) ind./L; (1.11±1.18) μg/L, calculated by carbon). Ciliate abundance and biomass in the surface waters of the coastal shallow area were similar in spring and autumn. However, in the central deep area, those values were much higher in spring ((1 878±2 893) ind./L; (5.99±10.10) μg/L) than in autumn ((738±373) ind./L; (0.74±0.76) μg/L). High values of ciliate abundance and biomass occurred in the central deep area in spring and in the coastal shallow area in autumn. Mixotrophic ciliate Laboea strobila was abundant in the central deep area in spring, when a phytoplankton bloom occurred. However, in autumn, L. strobila was abundant in the coastal shallow area. Boreal tintinnid Ptychocyli obtusa was found in spring. Both L. strobila and P. obtusa were concentrated in the surface waters when their abundance was more than 1 000 ind./L. Peaks of these species were in the subsurface waters when their abundance was less than 400 ind./L. This study showed that both high abundance and biomass of ciliates occurred in different areas in southern Yellow Sea seasonally.
Keywordsciliates abundance biomass southern Yellow Sea
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The authors thank the captain and crews of R/V Beidou for their assistance in the sample collection during the cruises.
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