The summer zooplankton community at South Georgia: biomass, vertical migration and grazing
Zooplankton abundance and biomass were determined during January 1990 at two stations to the north-west of South Georgia using a Longhurst Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR). At both shelf and oceanic station sites, zooplankton biomass, (excluding Euphausia superba), was found to be ca. 13 g dry mass m−2. Copepods and small euphausiids dominated the catches. These estimates are over 4 times higher than values generally reported for the Southern Ocean and may reflect firstly, the high productivity of the study area, secondly, the time of year, summer, when biomass for many species is maximal, and thirdly, the high sampling efficiency of the LHPR. Principal components analysis disclosed similarities and differences between adjacent depth strata in terms of abundance, biomass and species composition. At both stations most variability occurred in the mixed layer (0–60 m) and thermocline (60–120 m) with depth horizons below this being more homogeneous. Diel migrations were observed for most taxa with abundance increasing in the mixed layer at night. At the oceanic station, species and higher taxa belonging to the mesopelagic community were generally well spread throughout this domain and, with the exception of Pleuromamma robusta and Metridia curticauda, showed little evidence of migration. The grazing impact of the epipelagic community (copepods and small euphausiids) was estimated to remove 3–4% of the microbial standing stock day−1 and a conservative 25% and 56% of daily primary production at the oceanic and shelf stations respectively.
Authors: Ward, P., Atkinson, A., Murray, A.W.A., Wood, A.G., Williams, R., Poulet, S.A.