Variability of mesozooplankton biomass and individual size in a coast-offshore transect in the Catalan Sea: relationships with chlorophyll a and hydrographic features


  • Miquel Alcaraz Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC
  • Albert Calbet Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC
  • Stamatina Isari Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC - King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • Xabier Irigoien King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • Isabel Trepat Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC
  • Enric Saiz Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC



zooplankton biomass, NW Mediterranean, spatial distribution, short-term variability


The temporal and spatial changes of zooplankton and chlorophyll a concentration were studied during the warm stratification period (early June) at three stations whose traits corresponded to the coastal, frontal, and offshore-dome water conditions described for the Catalan Sea. We sampled the stations for 12 days at a frequency ranging from less than 10 to 102 h, with a spatial resolution ranging from 10 to 104 m. The objective was to determine the variability of mesozooplankton and phytoplankton (chlorophyll a) biomass, and average individual size (mass) across a coast-offshore transect in relation to the stratification conditions prevailing in the NW Mediterranean during summer. The vertical distribution of phytoplankton biomass displayed a clear deep maximum at 60 m depth except at the coastal station. This maximum exists during most of the year and is especially important during the density stratification period. It was accompanied during daylight hours by a coherent zooplankton maximum. At sunset mesozooplankton ascended and dispersed, with larger organisms from deeper layers joining the migrating community and increasing the average individual mass. The highest variability of mesozooplankton biomass, individual mass and chlorophyll a concentration occurred at the front station due to the coupling between the vertical migration of zooplankton and the particular characteristics of the front. According to the data shown, the highest variability was observed at the lowest scales.


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How to Cite

Alcaraz M, Calbet A, Isari S, Irigoien X, Trepat I, Saiz E. Variability of mesozooplankton biomass and individual size in a coast-offshore transect in the Catalan Sea: relationships with chlorophyll a and hydrographic features. Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2016Sep.30 [cited 2024Jul.25];80(S1):79-87. Available from:




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