Polar Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 123–137 | Cite as

Micro- and mesozooplankton responses during two contrasting summers in a coastal Antarctic environment

  • Maximiliano D. GarciaEmail author
  • Mónica S. Hoffmeyer
  • María Celeste López Abbate
  • María Sonia Barría de Cao
  • Rosa E. Pettigrosso
  • Gastón O. Almandoz
  • Marcelo P. Hernando
  • Irene R. Schloss


Rapid climate-driven melting of coastal glaciers may control plankton dynamics in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. It is known that in Potter Cove, 25 de Mayo/King George Island, phytoplankton is tightly coupled to meltwater input. However, no information on zooplankton is available in this regard. The aim of this study was therefore to examine the structure and dynamics of microzooplankton and mesozooplankton in two zones (the inner and outer Potter Cove) differently impacted by glacier melting during two contrasting austral summers (2010 and 2011). Microzooplankton composition differed between the two zones and years analyzed, and its total biomass was observed to be highest far from the glacier influence and during 2010. Mesozooplankton composition and biomass were similar in the two zones and years analyzed. Colder than usual conditions in the summer of 2010 prevented glacier melting, thus favoring the development of an exceptional micro-sized diatom bloom (~190 µg C l−1 and >15 µg l−1 chlorophyll a), which was tightly followed by a maximum in large copepod abundance. After the bloom and in coincidence with intense glacier melting, large diatoms and large copepods were observed to be replaced by nanophytoplankton and microzooplankton (aloricate ciliates and dinoflagellates), respectively. In 2011, low phytoplankton abundance, probably controlled by high tintinnid biomass, was observed as a result of warmer temperatures than 2010 and low-salinity waters. Large copepods appeared to have exerted a high grazing pressure on aloricate ciliates and heterotrophic dinoflagellates in 2011. Our results suggest that whereas the joint effect of water temperature, salinity and phytoplankton availability as well as composition could be of primary relevance in structuring micro- and mesozooplankton community, zooplankton could be of secondary relevance in controlling phytoplankton biomass in Potter Cove during the two summers analyzed.


Western Antarctic Peninsula Microzooplankton Mesozooplankton Biomass Top-down/bottom-up 



This study was supported by PICTO (Proyecto de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica Orientados) 35562 and PICT (Proyecto de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica) 2011 1320 to I.R.S. It is also part of the Interdisciplinary Modelling of Climate Change in Coastal Western Antarctica—Network for Staff Exchange and Training (IMCONET; FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES) supported by the European Polar Consortium–European Research Area–Net of Jubany. Authors want to particularly thank the personal members of Jubany (Carlini) Base and Dallmann Laboratory during 2010 and 2011 periods. Authors are also grateful to two anonymous reviewers of this manuscript for their valuable suggestions and to translator Viviana Soler who kindly improved the English style of the last version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 77 kb)
300_2015_1678_MOESM2_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maximiliano D. Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mónica S. Hoffmeyer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • María Celeste López Abbate
    • 1
    • 2
  • María Sonia Barría de Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rosa E. Pettigrosso
    • 4
  • Gastón O. Almandoz
    • 2
    • 5
  • Marcelo P. Hernando
    • 6
  • Irene R. Schloss
    • 2
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología y Taxonomía de Zooplancton, Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO)CONICET Bahía BlancaBahía BlancaArgentina
  2. 2.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Facultad Regional de Bahía BlancaUniversidad Tecnológica NacionalBahía BlancaArgentina
  4. 4.Departamento de Biología, Bioquímica y FarmaciaUniversidad Nacional del SurBahía BlancaArgentina
  5. 5.División Ficología, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y MuseoUniversidad Nacional de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  6. 6.Comisión Nacional de Energía AtómicaSan MartínArgentina
  7. 7.Instituto Antártico ArgentinoBuenos AiresArgentina
  8. 8.Institut des sciences de la mer de RimouskiUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada

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