Feeding rates and diel vertical migration of copepods near South Georgia: a comparison of shelf and oceanic sites
Seventeen Longhurst Hardy Plankton Recorder profiles were taken over a diel cycle in January 1990 to study the feeding of four major copepods over the South Georgia shelf. Ontogenetic changes in vertical migration were followed and feeding cycles determined by gut fluorometry for Calanoides acutus Stage CV, Calanus sinillimus CV and CVI♀, C. propinquus CV and Rhincalanus gigas CV and CVI♀. In common with a neighbouring oceanic site visited two weeks later and reported elsewhere, all four species had a diel cycle of feeding and migration. The vertical distributions of C. simillimus (all stages), R. gigas (nauplii) and Euphausia frigida (postlarvae) were similar at both sites, the night being spent within the chlorophyll maximum at 15 to 30 m. However, the biomass dominants, C. acutus and R. gigas, dwelt below the chlorophyll maximum, about 30 m deeper than their oceanic counterparts. Unlike the oceanic site, feeding at the shelf site was not restricted to darkness, but increased 6 to 10 h before nightfall and finished at dawn; the intervening period coincided with sinking and digestion. Daylight feeding may have been induced by the shorter night, lower light levels or greater food requirements at the shelf site, despite planktonic predators being over three times more abundant. Daily ration estimates for R. gigas at both sites were only ∼2% body carbon per day. These low values contrast with its smaller competirors, whose rations were in the range 5.6 to 27%.
Authors: Atkinson, Angus, Ward, Peter, Williams, R., Poulet, S.A.