, Volume 587, Issue 1, pp 213–223 | Cite as

Zooplankton distribution and dynamics in a temperate shallow estuary

  • Sónia Cotrim MarquesEmail author
  • M. A. Pardal
  • M. J. Pereira
  • F. Gonçalves
  • J. C. Marques
  • U. M. Azeiteiro


The spatial, temporal and tidal dynamics of the zooplanktonic community of the Mondego estuary was studied from January 2003 to 2004. The monthly sampling procedure included the measurement of hydrological parameters (salinity, temperature, Secchi transparency, chlorophyll a and nutrients) and the collection of zooplankton with a Bongo net of 335 μm mesh size. Zooplankton composition, distribution, density, biomass and diversity were determined. The principal component analysis (PCA) revealed the existence of a spatial gradient with the upstream sampling stations, associated to high values of nutrients, in opposition to the downstream stations characterized by higher salinity and transparency values. The Copepoda was the main dominant group and Acartia tonsa revealed to be the more abundant taxon. The spatial and temporal dynamics of zooplanktonic communities analysed by non-metric MDS showed the existence of four assemblages of species-sites, reflecting differences in zooplankton composition between both branches of the estuary. The results suggest that abundance, biomass and diversity of the zooplanktonic community are strongly influenced by the hydrological circulation pattern and by direct or indirect human impacts that occur in each branch. The northern branch is dominated by the river flow suffering from regular dredging activities and the southern branch is dominated by tidal circulation suffering from an ongoing eutrophication process.


Zooplankton Tidal dynamics Community structure Temperate estuary 



The present study was carried out in the scope of the research project Typology and Reference Conditions for Transitional and Coastal Portuguese Waters – TICOR, funded by INAG – Instituto da Água (Portugal). A special thanks to all our colleagues that helped during field work and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on early version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sónia Cotrim Marques
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. A. Pardal
    • 2
  • M. J. Pereira
    • 1
  • F. Gonçalves
    • 1
  • J. C. Marques
    • 2
  • U. M. Azeiteiro
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.IMAR – Institute of Marine Research, Department of ZoologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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