MEPS 352:161-175 (2007)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07111

Seasonal variation in abundance and feeding rates of the first stages of copepods in a temperate sea

Eva López*, Leticia Viesca, Ricardo Anadón

Área de Ecología, Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, C/ Catedrático Rodrigo Uría, s/n, CP 33071, Oviedo, Spain

ABSTRACT: An understanding of the role of copepod populations in marine ecosystems and carbon fluxes is limited by the scarcity of information on small copepods and developmental stages (nauplii and copepodites). Here, we present a study that includes the whole copepod population in the Cantabrian Sea, with special emphasis on copepodites and copepods <200 µm and nauplii. Total copepod abundance and feeding rates of phytoplankton by nauplii, copepods and copepodites belonging to the size fraction <200 µm were measured during an annual cycle in 3 stations off Cudillero (southern Bay of Biscay). Nauplii were the most abundant group in the metazooplankton, with densities ranging between 1 and 48 ind. l–1. The highest abundances were found during late summer and autumn. Feeding rates on phytoplankton showed a significant increase with chlorophyll a concentration in the water, and a saturation response at around 240 µg C l–1. Specific ingestion rates ranged from 0.04 to 2.05 µg C µg–1 nauplii C d–1 and 0.04 to 3.38 µg C µg–1 copepod C d–1. Nauplii and copepods <200 µm, respectively, ingested 0.2 to 7.1% and 0.1 to 4.9% of total chlorophyll a in the water column daily.


KEY WORDS: Copepod nauplii · Ingestion rates · Gut fluorescence · Cantabrian Sea


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Cite this article as: López E, Viesca L, Anadón R (2007) Seasonal variation in abundance and feeding rates of the first stages of copepods in a temperate sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 352:161-175. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07111

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