Scientia Marina, Vol 64, No 1 (2000)

Distribution of Euphausia mucronata at the upwelling area of Peninsula Mejillones, northern Chile: The influence of the oxygen minimum layer

R. Escribano
Instituto de Investigaciones Oceanológicas, Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile

V. Marin
Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de Chile, Chile

C. Irribarren
Instituto de Investigaciones Oceanológicas, Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile


Analysis of zooplankton samples from 53 stations obtained around Peninsula Mejillones (Northern Chile), from two strata: 0-50 m and 150-200 m, during active upwelling in December 1996, allowed the study of horizontal and vertical distribution of Euphausia mucronata, endemic Krill of the Humboldt Current. Information from CTDO and a fluorometer was used to analyze the influence of oceanographic variables on distribution of E. mucronata. E. mucronata was found distributed all around the Peninsula, although with greater aggregations in the southern area, especially in the deeper layer. Stepwise multiple regression showed that none of the variables (temperature, salinity and chlorophyll) was significantly correlated to numerical abundance of the species. However there was a significant effect of depth of the oxygen minimum layer (OML), defined as 0.5 ml O2 l-1, on integrated abundance of the species, such that individuals are more likely to be found in areas where the OML is deeper. A vertical distribution parameter suggested a diurnal migrational pattern. This parameter was also correlated with distance to shoreline. The OML rises abrutply in nearshore areas because of active upwelling, but there are still nearshore zones where the OML remains deep. Therefore E. mucronata appears to aggregate around the upwelling lenses and filaments, where phytoplankton is more concentrated, but at the same time avoiding places where the OML is too shallow.


Euphausiids; upwelling; vertical-migration; oxygen

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