Salp distribution and size composition in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean
Salp abundance and length frequency were measured during the large-scale CCAMLR 2000 Survey conducted in the Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean in the 1999/2000 season. Results from regional surveys around Elephant Island in 1994/95 and 1996/97 seasons also were examined. During the CCAMLR 2000 Survey, salp abundance was higher in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Sandwich Island areas than in the central Scotia Sea. The probable reason for this pattern is a negative relationship with phytoplankton abundance; the central Scotia Sea having greater phytoplankton concentrations than required for optimal salp filter-feeding performance. Cluster analysis of salp size composition resulted in three cluster groups for each of the three surveys. Clusters comprising large salps occurred in warmer waters in all three surveys. The size composition of the salp populations suggests that the timing of intense asexual reproductive budding was earlier in warmer waters. As surface water temperatures generally decrease from north to south, and increase from spring to summer, the general spatio-temporal pattern of asexual reproduction by budding is likely to proceed from north to south as the summer season progresses.