Interannual variability of the ecosystem of the Kii Channel, the Inland Sea of Japan, as influenced by bottom intrusion of cold and nutrient-rich water from the Pacific Ocean, and a recent trend of warming and oligotrophication
Ozaki, K.; Uye, S.I.; Kusumoto, T.; Hagino, T.
Fisheries Oceanography uary; 13(1): 65-79
Interannual variability of the ecosystem of the Kii Channel, productive shelf water on the Pacific side of south-western Japan, was analysed based on physicochemical environmental variables and abundance of major zooplankton taxa collected monthly for 12 yr from 1987 to 1999. The Kii Channel experienced both short-term (i.e. 3-4 yr) cyclical changes and a long-term (i.e. decadal) environmental trend. The short-term variability was primarily associated with year-to-year differences in intrusion of subsurface, cold nutrient-rich water along the bottom of the Kii Channel from the Pacific Ocean. When this bottom intrusion was intense, the Kii Channel experienced a cold, new production-dominated ecosystem. The bottom intrusion, however, has become less intense in recent years, because of the closer proximity of the Kuroshio flow axis to the Kii Channel. Hence, there was a consistent trend towards warming and a regenerated production-dominated ecosystem. In accordance with such environmental changes, the zooplankton community shifted towards more oceanic conditions; major herbivorous calanoids (i.e. Calanus sinicus, Paracalanus parvus (s.l.), Clausocalanus spp. and Acartia omorii) decreased, while carnivores (i.e. hydromedusae and Sagitta spp.) increased. The amount of total fish catch also decreased, while the catch of subtropical species increased. These findings lead us to conclude that the bottom intrusion from the Pacific Ocean plays a key role in determining the biological production in the Kii Channel.