Zooplankton Communities of the Argentine Continental Shelf (SW Atlantic, ca. 34°–55°S), An Overview

  • Georgina D. CepedaEmail author
  • Brenda Temperoni
  • Marina E. Sabatini
  • María D. Viñas
  • Carla M. Derisio
  • Betina A. Santos
  • Julieta C. Antacli
  • Luciano N. Padovani


A profuse literature related to the ecology of the Argentine continental shelf has been produced in the last four decades, documenting its biological richness and high productivity. Distinctive environmental characteristics define particular systems along and across the shelf, which in all cases are inhabited by mammal, bird, fish and cephalopod species in all life history stages, either as spawning, mating, nursery or juvenile grounds or just for adult feeding. At the productive base of these systems, zooplankton certainly plays a crucial role. This paper reviews the available information on zooplankton diversity and ecology for this huge region in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean, with the focus primarily upon copepods and secondarily on hyperiid amphipods and euphausiids. We describe general aspects of biogeographic zonation and diversity for the entire shelf, with emphasis on key zooplankton species. Then, we consider the structure and dynamics of the communities in relation to water masses, frontal areas and the overall circulation, specifically for (i) the northern shelf (34°–41°S), (ii) the Valdés frontal system over the northern Patagonian shelf (41°–45°S) and (iii) the southern Patagonian shelf (47°–55°S). We finally go over the open questions and prospects for the future work on zooplankton in the region.


Copepods Hyperiid amphipods Euphausiids Diversity patterns Community patterns Southwest Atlantic Ocean 



We would like to express our gratitude to the countless scientists, technicians and research vessel crews of INIDEP and CONICET who have for 50 years helped build our present understanding of zooplankton communities in the ACS. Their effort, enthusiasm and expertise are the basis of the results reported here. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions by many colleagues who, for reasons of space limitations, have not been referenced in these pages. We are grateful in particular to Gustavo Álvarez Colombo, Roxana Di Mauro, Nora Fernández Aráoz and Marina Marrari for kindly providing their data for the zooplankton datasets assembled throughout this review. Special thanks must be given to the heads of the several assessment groups at INIDEP for receiving and helping plankton researchers on board their stock assessment cruises. Also, the facilities at INIDEP and numerous grants from CONICET and the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata have been essential for the completion of our work. This is INIDEP contribution No2099.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgina D. Cepeda
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Brenda Temperoni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marina E. Sabatini
    • 1
    • 2
  • María D. Viñas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carla M. Derisio
    • 2
  • Betina A. Santos
    • 2
  • Julieta C. Antacli
    • 3
  • Luciano N. Padovani
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas–Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (CONICET – UNMdP)Mar del Plata, Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP)Mar del Plata, Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Instituto de Diversidad y Ecología Animal (IDEA)Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas–Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (CONICET – UNC)CórdobaArgentina

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