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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 439:151-168 (2011)  -  DOI:

Spatial patterns and scale-dependent relationships between macrozooplankton and fish in the Bay of Biscay: an acoustic study

Ainhoa Lezama-Ochoa1,*, Michael Ballón2,3, Mathieu Woillez4, Daniel Grados2,3, Xabier Irigoien1,5, Arnaud Bertrand2,3

1AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Unit, Herrera Kaia Portualdea z/g, 20110 Pasaia, Basque Country, Spain
2Instituto del Mar del Perú, Esquina Gamarra y Gral. Valle s/n, Apartado 22, Callao, Lima, Peru
3Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR212 EME IFREMER/IRD/UM2, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171,
34203 Sète Cedex, France
4University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Box 355020, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA
5Present address: Red Sea Research Centre, KAUST University, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

ABSTRACT: Macrozooplankton plays a key role in pelagic ecosystems as a link between lower trophic levels and fish. However, although its ecological role is usually considered in polar ecosystems, it is rarely considered in temperate ones. To obtain comprehensive information on the macrozooplankton distribution in the Bay of Biscay we adapted a bi-frequency acoustic method developed for the Humboldt Current system. This method can be used to extract continuous and simultaneous high-resolution information on the spatiotemporal patterns of biomass distributions of macrozooplankton and pelagic fish throughout the diel cycle. The 2 distributions were mapped using geostatistical techniques. We applied kriging with external drifts, which accounts for both diel and across-shore changes in macrozooplankton biomass. We then used a cross-variogram to determine the scale-dependent relationships between macrozooplankton and fish. The results show how macrozooplankton and fish are distributed according to the different ecological domains (coast, shelf, shelf-break and offshore) along the Spanish and French coasts. Specific macrozooplankton hotspots were observed, but macrozooplankton was generally more abundant offshore than inshore, whereas fish showed the opposite trend. This pattern was confirmed by the aggregation sizes, which increased towards oceanic waters for macrozooplankton and decreased for fish. Finally, the correlation between fish and macrozooplankton was positive on a small scale (<30 nautical miles) and negative on a large scale (>30 nautical miles).

KEY WORDS: Macrozooplankton · Pelagic fish · Acoustics · Spatial pattern · Scale-dependent interaction · Bay of Biscay

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Cite this article as: Lezama-Ochoa A, Ballón M, Woillez M, Grados D, Irigoien X,Bertrand A (2011) Spatial patterns and scale-dependent relationships between macrozooplankton and fish in the Bay of Biscay: an acoustic study. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 439:151-168.

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