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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 193:53-73 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps193053

Investigations on the ecology of Calanus spp. in the Labrador Sea. I. Relationship between the phytoplankton bloom and reproduction and development of Calanus finmarchicus in spring

E. J. H. Head*, L. R. Harris, R. W. Campbell**

Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ocean Sciences Division, Bedford Institute of Oceanograhy, PO Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
**Present address: Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada

ABSTRACT: During mid-May-early June 1997 observations of hydrography, phytoplankton and nitrate concentrations, and abundance and stage distribution of Calanus finmarchicus populations were made in the Labrador Sea and south of Greenland. Egg production rates were also measured for isolated C. finmarchicus females. Surface nitrate and integrated phytoplankton concentrations indicated that, in the deep water, the phytoplankton bloom had ended in the north and east, was in progress in the north central Labrador Sea and near the basin margins, and had not yet become established in an area stretching from the central Labrador Sea to the south of Greenland. C. finmarchicus egg production rates and stage distributions at stations in the 3 areas designated as early, mid- and late/post-bloom zones, suggested that development rates of the overwintered G0 generation into mature adults (females and males) were probably low before the bloom, but accelerated during its development. Individual and areal rates of egg production were highest in the early bloom zone, whereas nauplii were more abundant in the bloom and late/post-bloom zones. Differences in naupliar abundance may have been related to food limitation, or predation. Following development through to the young copepodite stages (CI-III), which were most abundant in the late/post-bloom zone, morality rates were apparently lower and growth rates less dependent on high phytoplankton concentrations and perhaps more dependent on temperature. In the Labrador Sea, where the annual growth season is relatively short and C. finmarchicus produces only 1 generation per year, the timing of the spring bloom may have a significant impact on recruitment of the new year's generation. In areas where the bloom is early and intense, maturation of the overwintered adults will be rapid and egg-laying will occur when phytoplankton concentrations are high. Subsequent survival success of eggs through to later stages will also probably be relatively high and individuals from the new year's generation will have ample time to reach stages capable of overwintering. By contrast, if the bloom is late or of low intensity, adult maturation will be delayed and egg-laying may occur when phytoplankton concentrations are low. Under these conditions relatively few eggs may survive and individuals that do survive will have a shorter period in which to attain stages which can overwinter.

KEY WORDS: Calanus finmarchicus · Reproduction · Spring bloom · Labrador Sea

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