Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 1 (2014)

First report on the contribution of small-sized species to the copepod community structure of the southern Patagonian shelf (Argentina, 47-55°S)

Julieta Carolina Antacli
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) - Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP) - Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMYC), CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata , Argentina

Daniel Raúl Hernández
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP) , Argentina

Marina Elena Sabatini
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) - Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP) - Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMYC), CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata , Argentina


The copepod community structure, with special emphasis on small-sized species, was studied over the southern Patagonian shelf in late summer 2004, applying the first plankton sampling in the region with a fine-mesh (66 μm) net. The key role of the copepods Drepanopus forcipatus and Calanus australis was confirmed, but also the high abundance and frequency of occurrence of the microcopepods Oithona helgolandica and Microsetella norvegica and of the medium-sized copepod Ctenocalanus vanus were revealed. Copepod community structure was nearly homogenous over the entire study area. Drepanopus forcipatus, O. helgolandica and M. norvegica were identified as the typical species of the region, although secondarily C. australis and Oithona atlantica also contributed significantly to community similarity across the area. The study of interspecific relationships of dominant copepods indicated that D. forcipatus and C. australis were associated positively with O. helgolandica, while C. vanus, and M. norvegica constituted a separate assemblage with Clausocalanus brevipes and O. atlantica. The importance of fine-mesh-size nets for collecting the smaller size fractions of mesozooplankton and for accurately portraying the mesozooplankton assemblage structure in the area is stressed by this study.


mesozooplankton; microcopepods; southern Patagonian shelf; size spectra; Oithona helgolandica; Micosetella norvegica; Drepanopus forcipatus

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