, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 325–334 | Cite as

Summer-winter differences in copepod distribution around South Georgia

  • Angus Atkinson
  • Peter Ward
Part Four: Marine Plankton


Zooplankton was sampled on a synoptic grid of stations centered on South Georgia during the austral summer of 1981/82 and winter 1983. Within the top 1000 m layer at oceanic stations, copepods averaged 48% of the total biomass in summer and winter, but outnumbered all other taxa combined by a factor of 10. In winter the mean zooplankton biomass within the top 1000 m was 68% of its summer level. Copepod biomass was 77% of its summer level. During both surveys, the large and abundant Calanoides acutus and Rhincalanus gigas dominated the copepod biomass and, with several other species, showed a marked downwards seasonal migration out of the top 250 m layer in winter. Antarctic epipelagic species predominated around the island during summer but tended to be replaced by sub-Antarctic and cosmopolitan species during the winter. Factors likely to influence our estimates of overall copepods abundance and changes in species composition include seasonality of reproduction, net mesh selection and differences in water mass distribution. The observed trends are attributed mainly to variation in the position of the Polar Front which lay north of the island during the summer survey yet lay across the survey area in winter. This resulted in a greater influence of sub-Antarctic water around South Georgia in winter and the displacement of Antarctic species.

Key words

copepods Antarctica South Georgia zooplankton seasonality 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angus Atkinson
    • 1
  • Peter Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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