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The diel migrations and distributions within a mesopelagic community in the northeast atlantic 4. the copepods


, : The diel migrations and distributions within a mesopelagic community in the northeast atlantic 4. the copepods. Progress in Oceanography 13(3-4): 353-388

Vertical distribution and migration of adult calanoid copepods at a position 44.degree.N 13.degree.W are analyzed. Samples were taken at 4 depths, 100, 250, 450 and 600 m, each of which was repeatedly fished for a continuous period of 48 h. Copepods were the most abundant planktonic group taken in the series and were an important food item for decapod crustacea, mysids and fish. Most of the 104 spp. which were identified were relatively scarce. The genus Clausocalanus was numerically dominant. The copepod populations changed continuously both in time and space. The distribution and migratory behavior of 21 spp. or groups are analyzed in detail. COngeneric vertical segregation is apparent in some groups, e.g. the Spinocalanidae. Many species underwent vertical migration, but this usually involved only a part of their populations. Apparent non-migrants could migrate acyclically and such movements would be undetected here. In some species, Ctenocalanus vanus, Euchirella rostrata, Scolecithricella minor, S. dentata, Metridia lucens, Pleuromamma gracilis, P. borealis and P. robusta, there were sexual differences in vertical distributions and/or migratory behavior. Vertical migration cycles are symmetrical, repeatable, and movement is apparently continuous. The cycles consist of periods of alternate fast and slow movements. Migration speeds were calculated for several species. These are generally faster than any previous records for sustained swimming in copepods. The effects of light on migrations are discussed. None of the present copepod populations can maintain themselves within a contain light regime during their diel cycles because they move too slowly and/or their vertical distributions are too diffuse. The vertical distributions of some copepods at 44.degree.N 13.degree.W and off Fuerteventura is inconsistently different. Some species, e.g., C. vanus are deeper at 44.degree.N 13.degree.W whereas others, e.g. Aetideus armatus are shallower. Controlling factors, or their effects, differ geographically. Passive sinking cannot account for the rapid downward migration rates but could cause the slow phases of downward movement.

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