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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 267:85-97 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps267085

Flexible diel vertical migration behaviour of zooplankton in the Irish Sea

Xabier Irigoien1,*, David V. P. Conway2, Roger P. Harris3

1AZTI, Herrera Kaia Portualdea, Pasaia 20110, Guipúzcoa, Spain
2Marine Biological Association, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
3Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK

ABSTRACT: The diel vertical migration (DVM) of the whole plankton community was investigated in the central and coastal Irish Sea. Generally, more than 60% of the plankton did not perform significant DVM. A correlation analysis of the weighted mean depths of different organisms and their potential predators suggested relationships between 2 groups: Oithona spp., copepod nauplii and fish larvae, and Calanus spp., Pseudocalanus elongatus and chaetognaths (Sagitta spp.). Organisms showing significant DVM were chaetognaths (Sagitta spp.), Calanus spp. and P. elongatus. Calanus spp. showed clear ontogenic variations in DVM and, along with P. elongatus, demonstrated great flexibility in both the amplitude and direction of migration. P. elongatus did not migrate in the coastal area and Calanus spp. showed a clear reverse migration. The direction of migration appeared to be related to the vertical position of the chaetognaths in the water column during the day.

KEY WORDS: Diel vertical migration · Calanus spp. · Pseudocalanus spp. · Oithona spp. · Chaetognaths · Fish larvae

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