Marine Biology

, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 481–495

Annual biomass and production of the oceanic copepod community off Discovery Bay, Jamaica


  • M. K. Webber
    • Zoology DepartmentUniversity of the West Indies
  • J. C. Roff
    • Zoology DepartmentUniversity of Guelph

DOI: 10.1007/BF00349227

Cite this article as:
Webber, M.K. & Roff, J.C. Marine Biology (1995) 123: 481. doi:10.1007/BF00349227


Monthly samples were collected in oceanic waters off Discovery Bay, Jamaica, in 60- and 200-m vertical hauls, using 200- and 64-μm mesh plankton nets, from June 1989 to July 1991. Length-weight regressions were derived for twelve genera of copepods (R2=0.79 to 0.97). For eight occasions spanning the study period, biomass estimates generated from these length-weight regressions differed by only 3% from direct weight determinations. The mean ash content of copepods was 7.1%, and the energy density was 20.8 kJ g-1 ash-free dry weight (AFDW). Mean annual biomass of the total copepod community in the upper 60 m was 1.83 mg AFDW m-3 (range 1.14 to 2.89 mg AFDW m-3), and for the 200-m water column was 0.96 mg AFDW m-3 (range 0.12 to 1.99 mg AFDW m-3). Estimates of generation times for five common taxa ranged from 16.1 to 33.4 d. None of the taxa investigated displayed isochronal development; in general, stage duration increased in later copepodite stages. Weight increments showed a significant decrease in later copepodite stages, but with strong reversal of the trend from stage 5 to adult female in most species. Daily specific growth rates also declined in later copepodite stages, and ranged from 1.49 d-1 in stage 1–2 Paracalanus/Clausocalanus spp. to 0.04 in stage 5-female of Oithona plumifera. Progressive food limitation of somatic copepodite growth and egg production is postulated. Naupliar production was 50.4 to 59.5% of copepodite production, and egg production was 35.1 to 27.7% of copepodite production in the 60-and 200-m water columns, respectively. Total annual copepod production, including copepodites, nauplii, eggs and exuviae, was 160 kJ m-2 yr-1 for the upper 60 m and 304 kJ m-2 yr-1 for the upper 200 m. Secondary production of the copepod community in oceanic waters off Discovery Bay approaches 50% of the corresponding value in tropical neritic waters.

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© Springer-Verlag 1995