Polar Biology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 215–225 | Cite as

Distribution of antarctic zooplankton around Elephant Island during the austral summers of 1988, 1989, and 1990

  • C. Park
  • J. H. Wormuth


Year to year variation and vertical distributions of epipelagic Zooplankton around Elephant Island and King George Island were examined with samples collected with bongo nets and a 1 m2 MOCNESS during the austral summers (Jan–Feb.) of 1988, 1989 and 1990. Copepods were the major components of epipelagic Zooplankton (in numbers) with dominance of Metridia gerlachei (1988 and 1989) and small calanoids and cyclopoids (1990). Euphausiids and salps were the next most abundant groups. The percent composition of euphausiids decreased from 1988 to 1990 while that of salps increased. The abundance of salps exceeded euphausiids and major taxa of copepods in 1990. Local patches of polychaetes and amphipods were also found. Statistically significant annual variations with increased numbers in 1990 were found by analyses of variance in total abundance, abundances of copepods, salps, chaetognaths and amphipods, but abundances of euphausiids, polychaetes and fishes showed no significant annual variations. When the study area was divided geographically, horizontal variability in abundance within each year showed no significance in total abundance, abundances of copepods, euphausiids, amphipods and fishes, but significance in salps, polychaetes and chaetognaths. Results of site clustering based on covariances of abundances of eleven major taxa were well matched, though not perfect, with the distribution of surface water temperatures which could be used as a tracer of source water masses suggesting that spatial variation was related to hydrodynamic conditions. Factor analyses showed that annual and spatial variations in abundance were mainly caused by only two taxa, Metridia gerlachei and salps (mostly Salpa thompsoni). These two taxa were responsible for about 60% and 30% of total variance, respectively, and were useful indicators of the interannual variation. That is, 1988 and 1989 were the years of M. gerlachei, and 1990 was the year of salps. From vertically stratified MOCNESS samples, it was shown that the major taxa in this study area were active vertical migrators. While most samples obtained by relatively shallow tows (uppermost 100 m depth) were composed of exclusively one or two taxa, those from relatively deep tows (down to 200 m) showed various patterns of vertical stratification suggesting that the patterns of vertical migration were species specific. Species specific ontogenetic vertical migration associated with elevated habitat temperatures also seemed to be responsible for the annual variation in zooplankton distribution in the upper water column.


Polychaete Total Abundance Vertical Migration Austral Summer Surface Water Temperature 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Park
    • 1
  • J. H. Wormuth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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