Marine Biology

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 249-255

First online:

Diel vertical migration bySalpa aspera and its potential for large-scale particulate organic matter transport to the deep-sea

  • P. H. WiebeAffiliated withWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • , L. P. MadinAffiliated withWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • , L. R. HauryAffiliated withWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • , G. R. HarbisonAffiliated withWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • , L. M. PhilbinAffiliated with

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In mid-summer 1975 throughout the Western Slope Water of the North Atlantic Ocean, massive numbers ofSalpa aspera performed a diel vertical migration of at least 800 m. This resulted in a movement of 85 to 90% of the total zooplankton biomass out of the upper 500 m during the day. Fecal pellet production and losses from this salp population were estimated to contribute approximately 12 mg C m-2 day-1 to the deep planktonic and benthic populations. If all this organic matter reached the deep-sea floor, it would represent over 100% of the daily deep-sea benthic infauna energy requirements.