Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 1 (2012)

Potential zooplankton preys (Copepoda and Appendicularia) for Engraulis anchoita in relation to early larval and spawning distributions in the Patagonian frontal system (SW Atlantic Ocean)

Mariela L. Spinelli
Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina

Marcelo Pájaro
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), Argentina

Patricia Martos
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), Argentina

Graciela B. Esnal
Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina

Marina Sabatini
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) - Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), Argentina

Fabiana L. Capitanio
Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina


We investigated the spatial distribution of the abundance, biomass and size of zooplankton (nauplii, calanoids, cyclopoids and appendicularians) in relation to the distribution of first-feeding larvae and eggs of Engraulis anchoita across the frontal system of Peninsula Valdés. Twelve samples of zooplankton and ichthyoplankton were taken with small Bongo (67 μm) and Pairovet (200 μm) nets during the spring of 2004 along two transects. The total abundance of zooplankton and the chlorophyll a concentration were higher in homogeneous waters, while total biomasses were higher in stratified waters. Temperature was negatively correlated with biological variables and was the main factor affecting the zooplankton distribution. In both transects, abundance peaks of first-feeding larvae were detected at coastal stations along with the smallest fraction of zooplankton ( < 500 μm), while the largest fraction was dominant at the external stations, coinciding with the highest egg abundance. The physical structure of this front generates different levels of food availability for first-feeding larvae. Calanoids (southern transect) and cyclopoids (northern transect) are predominant followed by nauplii and appendicularians. The biomass of zooplankton preys contributes to the carbon transfer to the upper trophic levels and is probably important for the survival and growth of anchovy larvae in this frontal system.


southwestern Atlantic Ocean; North Patagonian frontal system; copepods; appendicularians; zooplankton-anchovy linkage

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