Polar Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 9, pp 1527–1538 | Cite as

The dominant copepods Senecella siberica and Limnocalanus macrurus in the Ob Estuary: ecology in a high-gradient environment

  • A. V. Drits
  • A. F. Pasternak
  • A. B. Nikishina
  • T. N. Semenova
  • V. M. Sergeeva
  • A. A. Polukhin
  • M. V. Flint
Original Paper


Intensive transformation and sedimentation of suspended matter from riverine runoff occur in estuarine frontal zones. The mesozooplankton community plays an important role in these processes. In the Ob Estuary, the dominant copepods Limnocalanus macrurus and Senecella siberica form dense local aggregations, but only scarce data on the ecology of these species in the estuarine environment are available. We aimed at analyzing the main aspects of the ecology of the two species including their grazing impact on phytoplankton. The distribution (net tows), ingestion rates (gut fluorescence analysis), respiration and excretion rates (incubation experiments), diet composition, gonad development and size of the lipid sacs of these copepods in a high-gradient area of the Ob Estuary were studied during a cruise of the R/V Professor Stockman in September 2013. S. siberica predominantly inhabited the freshwater zone; L. macrurus was more abundant in the estuarine frontal zone. In L. macrurus, adult females and males dominated the population, the herbivorous feeding hardly met the metabolic demands, the specific lipid content was high, and the gonads were developed. In S. siberica, the fifth copepodite stage (CV) dominated. The feeding rate considerably exceeded the metabolic requirements, and the lipid content was variable. The gonads were undeveloped. The two species grazed one-fifth of the phytoplankton biomass and more than 100 % of primary production, with S. siberica responsible for the main part of the total grazing impact (up to 90 %). These results are discussed in connection with the hydrophysical parameters and phase of the population’s life cycle. The obtained results contribute to the knowledge about zooplankton ecology and the transformation of suspended matter in an estuarine high-gradient environment.


Copepod ecology Senecella siberica Limnocalanus macrurus Ob Estuary Grazing impact Kara Sea 



We thank the crew of the RV “Professor Stockman” for help in the field work. The study was supported by RSCF grant #14-16-00681 to MVF (organization and carrying out the expedition to the Kara Sea), RSCF grant #14-05-00095 (proceeding of samples), RFBR grant #13-04-00613 and grant #16-05-00037 to AFP (feeding experiments, analysis of lipid content, gonad development of copepods). We are grateful to Prof. T.E. Whitledge and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and improving the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. V. Drits
    • 1
  • A. F. Pasternak
    • 1
  • A. B. Nikishina
    • 1
  • T. N. Semenova
    • 1
  • V. M. Sergeeva
    • 1
  • A. A. Polukhin
    • 1
  • M. V. Flint
    • 1
  1. 1.P.P. Shirshov Institute of OceanologyRussian Academy of ScienceMoscowRussia

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