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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 416:165-178 (2010)  -  DOI:

Habitat selection by a marine copepod during the productive season in the Subarctic

Sünnje L. Basedow1,*, Kurt S. Tande2, Leif Christian Stige3

1Department of Aquatic Biosciences, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
2Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Bodø University College, 8049 Bodø, Norway
3Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

ABSTRACT: Few studies have analysed the depth distribution of marine zooplankton at high-resolution, and knowledge obtained from theoretical modelling studies predominates over that from empirical field studies. We analysed depth selection by the marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus during spring and summer in neritic and oceanic Subarctic regions. Data on hydrography and zooplankton distribution in the upper 100 m were collected at high resolution by a towed instrument platform equipped with CTD, fluorometer and an optical plankton counter. Four extensive field data sets covering time windows from 3 to 11 d during the productive season were analysed using generalized additive mixed models. Our main findings were that: (1) mean depth of older development stages (CV and adults) of C. finmarchicus was best predicted by biotic factors (depth of the fluorescence maximum and population density), while abiotic factors (depth of the pycnocline) were of secondary importance, (2) depth selection was similar in neritic and oceanic areas, and (3) there was no evidence for synchronous diel vertical migration. Our results suggest that copepods dynamically and consistently select their habitat (depth) based on food conditions and predators in a density-dependent manner. We conclude that ecological interactions may drive habitat choice of planktonic organisms even in highly fluctuating oceanic environments.

KEY WORDS: Habitat choice · Depth selection · Optical plankton counter · Generalized additive mixed model · GAMM · Calanus · Density-dependence · Seasonality

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Cite this article as: Basedow SL, Tande KS, Stige LC (2010) Habitat selection by a marine copepod during the productive season in the Subarctic. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 416:165-178.

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