Observations of a deep aggregation of <i>Calanus pacificus</i> in the Santa Barbara Basin

Osgood, KE, Checkley DM.  1997.  Observations of a deep aggregation of Calanus pacificus in the Santa Barbara Basin. Limnology and Oceanography. 42:997-1001.

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black-sea, california, copepods, finmarchicus, nova-scotia shelf, zooplankton


An optical plankton counter/CTD package was used with zooplankton net samples to map the distribution of fifth copepodid (C5) Calanus pacificus in the Santa Barbara Basin region during two autumn cruises. Diapausing C5 C. pacificus were aggregated in a layer just above the basin's oxygen-deficient bottom waters and below its sill depth. The maximal concentration measured was 6,900 ind. m(-3) from a net sample spanning a depth range double the thickness of the C5 layer Although the C5 concentration varied, the layer was found at all stations of sufficient bottom depth within the basin. During November 1994, C5 C. pacificus accounted for 95-97% of all zooplankton caught in net samples from the layer. Relatively low concentrations of deep-dwelling C5 C. pacificus were observed at nearby stations outside the basin. We hypothesize that C5 C. pacificus descend into the Santa Barbara Basin at diapause, are trapped, and accumulate in a region of relatively low predator abundance. The resultant aggregation is estimated to contain a significant fraction of the regional C. pacificus population and thus assumes an important role in its dynamics.