Marine Biology

, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 257–262 | Cite as

Vertical distribution and nocturnal migration of Nyctiphanes couchi (Crustacea: Euphausiacea) in relation to the summer thermocline in the Celtic Sea

  • R. Williams
  • N. Fragopoulu


Vertical distributions and nocturnal migrations of the developmental stages of Nyctiphanes couchi (Bell) in relation to the summer thermocline in the Celtic Sea, 25 to 26 August 1982, have been investigated using the Longhurst-Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR). The vertical distributions of the metanauplii and adult females suggest that N. couchi liberates its young within the euphotic zone as mature metanauplii which, in a matter of hours, moult into the first feeding stage (Calyptopis I). The ascent migration by adult females took a maximum of 3 h (17.10 to 20.05 hrs) and had an amplitude of ∼50m (54 to 4 m) from below to above the thermocline. A ∼7C° thermocline occurred between 20 to 30 m in these profiles. The nocturnal migrations by the females were for the purpose of breeding as well as feeding within the euphotic zone and were not influenced by the presence of the thermocline. The majority of the calyptopes and furciliae remained above the thermocline over the sampling period. The post-larval males and females migrated; their vertical distributions showed a pattern similar to those of the adult females. The larger the developmental stage, the deeper was the mode of its vertical distribution. The zooplankton dry weight in the profiles ranged from 3.74 to 6.91 g per haul (=1.85 to 3.45 g C m-2, 0 to 100 m). The euphausiids represented ∼35% of total zooplankton dry weight and their migrations removed a large percentage of the total zooplankton biomass from the euphotic zone for ∼18 h d-1. Such a large displacement of biomass would have a major impact on the biological interactions within the ecosystem.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Williams
    • 1
  • N. Fragopoulu
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Marine Environmental ResearchNatural Environment Research CouncilPlymouthEngland
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Section of Animal Biology, Zoology LaboratoryUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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