Marine Biology

, Volume 140, Issue 3, pp 567–576

Reproductive cycles of three dominant Calanus species in Disko Bay, West Greenland


  •  B. Niehoff
    • Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Columbusstr., 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
  •  S. Madsen
    • Roskilde University, Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  •  B. Hansen
    • Roskilde University, Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  •  T. Nielsen
    • National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Marine Ecology, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-001-0731-3

Cite this article as:
Niehoff, B., Madsen, S., Hansen, B. et al. Marine Biology (2002) 140: 567. doi:10.1007/s00227-001-0731-3


This study describes the annual reproductive cycles of the three dominant Calanus species, C. finmarchicus, C. glacialis and C. hyperboreus, in Disko Bay (West Greenland) in relation to seasonal phytoplankton development. Relative abundance of females, copepodite stage V (CV) and males, and the developmental stage of the female gonad were examined from plankton samples collected at weekly to monthly intervals from May 1996 to June 1997 with a WP2 net or a pump. During spring and summer, egg production rates were determined. Females of all three species were present year round. Maximum relative abundance was reached by C. hyperboreus females at the beginning of February, by C. glacialis in mid-February, and by C. finmarchicus in April. All three species reproduced successfully in Disko Bay. Their reproductive cycles were considerably different with respect to the timing of final gonad maturation and spawning, and hence in their relation to seasonal phytoplankton development. In all three species, early gonad development took place during winter, before living food became plentiful, suggesting that these processes were largely food independent. Final gonad maturation and spawning in C. finmarchicus was related to the phytoplankton concentration, reflecting that final gonad maturation processes are food dependent in this species. C. glacialis females matured and spawned prior to the spring bloom. Our results indicate that first internal lipid stores and later ice alga grazing supplied final gonad maturation and egg production. Maximum egg production rates of C. glacialis were found in spring and summer, when the chlorophyll a concentration was high. Mature female C. hyperboreus were found from February until mid-April, when the chlorophyll a concentration was still low. In this species, reproductive activity was decoupled from phytoplankton development, and final maturation processes and spawning were solely fuelled by internal energy stores.

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© Springer-Verlag 2002