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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 241:125-138 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps241125

Importance of copepods versus appendicularians in vertical carbon fluxes in a Swedish fjord

Cristian A. Vargas1,*, Kajsa Tönnesson1, Anne Sell1,**, Marie Maar2, Eva Friis Møller2, Tania Zervoudaki3, Antonia Giannakourou3, Epaminondas Christou3, Suree Satapoomin4, Jens Kjerulf Petersen2, Torkel Gissel Nielsen2, Peter Tiselius1

1Göteborg University, Kristineberg Marine Research Station, 450 34 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
2National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Marine Ecology, PO Box 358, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
3National Centre for Marine Research, 16604 Hellenikon, Athens, Greece
4Phuket Marine Biological Center, PO Box 60, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Present addresses: *Doctoral Program in Oceanography, Department of Oceanography, Universidad de Concepcion, PO Box 160-C, Concepcion, Chile. E-mail: **Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA

ABSTRACT: We examined and quantified the contributions of copepods and appendicularians to the vertical flux of carbon during autumn and spring in Gullmar Fjord (west coast of Sweden). Faecal pellet-production rate was determined for major copepod and appendicularian species. In addition, house-production rates were estimated for the appendicularian Oikopleura dioica. Vertical flux of pigments, faecal carbon and appendicularian houses were measured using short-term (24 h) deployments of sediment traps at 2 depths (15 and 30 m). Copepods dominated the community biomass in both spring and autumn and their pellets dominated the faecal carbon flux. O. dioica houses with attached detritus were an important component of the biogenic carbon flux in October (15.3 mgC m-2 d-1), equalling the contribution from copepods at 15 m and 50% of the flux at 30 m. At that time, we observed a loss rate of 70% d-1 of the houses produced in the water column. In the spring, although Fritillaria borealis dominated the appendicularians, its houses did not appear to contribute to the biogenic flux. Our results suggest that oikopleurids and fritillariids may not operate equivalently in biogeochemical cycles. Because of the significant contribution of appendicularians to carbon fluxes, they should be incorporated in future flow models of coastal oceans

KEY WORDS: Carbon flux · Appendicularians · Copepods · Faecal pellet production · Marine snow

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