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Environmental factors influencing diurnal distribution of zooplankton and ichthyoplankton

, : Environmental factors influencing diurnal distribution of zooplankton and ichthyoplankton. Journal of Plankton Research 6(5): 767-792

The diurnal vertical distribution of a large number of species of zooplankton, ichthyoplankton and micronekton were determined in the top 150 m in 3 locations in the Shelf Water, on the Nova Scotia [Canada] Shelf and Slope and on Georges Bank during spring and fall periods. Species were categorized as to their trophic level and their type of diurnal migration behavior. The influence of temperature, salinity and water density on the diurnal vertical distribution of the species was examined. Temperature had the greatest influence on the distribution of the largest number of species. Diurnal migration behavior of the same species in Shelf and Slope water and at different times of the year was examined. Results showed that species changed their behavior in the 2 water masses; some species changed their migration behavior at differnt times of the year. During the night in April the most abundant copepod species, Calanus finmarchicus, making up about 80% of the biomass, was concentrated above the thermocline and the main chlorophyll layer. The majority of the less abundant species of copepods were found below the thermocline and the chlorophyll layer. At night in Aug. the 2 most abundant copepod species, Centropages typicus and Paracalanus parvus, making up at least 80% of the zooplankton biomass, were also concentrated above the thermocline and the main chlorophyll layer. Three species of copepods were concentrated at the depth of the main chlorophyll layer and 2 spp. were concentrated below the chlorophyll layer and thermocline. The vertical distribution of other zooplankton and ichthyoplankton species was examined in relation to the thermocline and chlorophyll layer. Relationships between concentrations of 6 spp. of fish larvae and all species of copepods in the same samples showed a gneral increase in the numbers of larvae m-3 as the numbers of copepods m-3 increased in a range of 500-4000 m-3. The concentration of Merluccius bilinearis decreased as the concentration of copepods exceeded 4000 m-3 suggesting that high concentrations of copepods may not be a favorable environment for the larvae.


DOI: 10.1093/plankt/6.5.767

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