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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 483:85-102 (2013)  -  DOI:

Plankton community structure and role of Oithona similis on the western coast of Greenland during the winter-spring transition

Sara Zamora-Terol1,*, Torkel Gissel Nielsen2,3, Enric Saiz1

1Institut de Ciències del Mar—CSIC, Barcelona 08003, Spain
2National Institute of Aquatic Resources, DTU Aqua, Section for Oceanography and Climate, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Charlottenlund 2920, Denmark
3Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk 3900, Greenland

ABSTRACT: The cyclopoid copepod Oithona similis is one of the most abundant copepods in the oceans and has a potentially important role in pelagic food webs. However, there is a lack of knowledge on aspects of its biology and function in planktonic communities. In the present study, we aimed to assess and compare the species’ trophic role in Greenlandic coastal waters during the winter-spring transition, with a focus on its winter behaviour, when large calanoids are not present in the surface layer. Two locations were studied: waters offshore from Godthåbsfjord (Nuuk) in winter, and Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Bay) in spring (bloom and post-bloom period). The potential prey of adult females of O. similis was quantified, and grazing experiments were conducted to determine the feeding rates of adult females on phytoplankton and protozooplankton >10 µm. The abundance, stage composition, and egg production of O. similis was also investigated. Ciliates were the preferred prey for O. similis, which confirms its importance as a link between the microbial food web and higher trophic levels. We observed high egg production rates and efficiencies of O. similis in winter, confirming that it is active and successfully reproductive in food-limited winter conditions. Our results stress that O. similis is a key component of Arctic and subarctic marine communities throughout the year.

KEY WORDS: Oithona similis · Trophic role · Egg production · Greenland · Winter · Bloom · Arctic

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Cite this article as: Zamora-Terol S, Nielsen TG, Saiz E (2013) Plankton community structure and role of Oithona similis on the western coast of Greenland during the winter-spring transition. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 483:85-102.

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