Marine Biology

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 93–106

Midwater food web in McMurdo Sound, Ross Sea, Antarctica

  • T. L. Hopkins

DOI: 10.1007/BF00394842

Cite this article as:
Hopkins, T.L. Marine Biology (1987) 96: 93. doi:10.1007/BF00394842


The trophic structure of the midwater ecosystem of McMurdo Sound, Ross Sea, Antarctica in February, 1983 was examined through diet analysis of 35 species of zooplankton and micronekton. Ten feeding groups were suggested through cluster analysis. The two largest clusters consisted of small-particle grazers and omnivore generalists; the eight remaining clusters were of carnivores specializing on one or several types of metazoan prey. Diet composition often shifted with ontogeny and though exceptions occurred, diet diversity usually increased either during early growth or throughout development. Comparison with a krill-dominated area along the Antarctic Penisula (Croker Passage) indicated that species common to the two areas occupied approximately the same trophic position. Biomass in McMurdo Sound was much lower than in Croker Passage and large-sized particle grazers such as krill and salps were trophically less dominant in McMurdo Sound. Krill in Croker Passage in the fall entered the midwater food web primarily as detritus (molts); in McMurdo Sound it was mostly as live furcilia. Sampling in McMurdo Sound was during a plankton bloom and calculations of grazing rates suggest that much of the primary production settled through the water column uneaten.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. L. Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine ScienceUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA

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