Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 723–737 | Cite as

Temporal and Spatial Variability of Mesozooplankton in a Shallow Sub-Tropical Bay: Influence of Top-Down Control

  • Christopher R. Kelble
  • Peter B. Ortner
  • Gary L. Hitchcock
  • Michael J. Dagg
  • Joseph N. Boyer


Quantifying the relationship between mesozooplankton and water quality parameters identifies the factors that structure the mesozooplankton community and can be used to generate hypotheses regarding the mechanisms that control the mesozooplankton population and potentially the trophic network. To investigate this relationship, mesozooplankton and water quality data were collected in Florida Bay from 1994 to 2004. Three key characteristics were found in the mesozooplankton community structure: (1) there are significant differences between the four sub-regions of Florida Bay; (2) there is a break in May of 1997 with significant differences before and after this date; and (3) there is a positive correlation between mesozooplankton abundance and salinity. The latter two characteristics are closely correlated with predator abundance, indicating the importance of top-down control. Hypersaline periods appear to provide a refuge from predators, allowing mesozooplankton to increase in abundance despite the increased physiological stress.


Zooplankton Long term Coastal Water quality Salinity Top-down control 



This research was carried out under the auspices of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), a Cooperative Institute of the University of Miami and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, cooperative agreement #NA17RJ1226. We would like to thank E.M. Johns and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions in improving this manuscript. We are thankful for the assistance with respect to mesozooplankton enumeration provided by the late L. Hill, J. Rabalais, S. Haddad, and J. Appiot. We are also grateful for the field assistance provided by D. Forcucci, C. Fischer, G. Rawson, T. Kiesling, C. Featherstone, J. Judas, J. Absten, and C. Humphries and for the planktivorous fish data provided by M. Lacroix and A. Powell.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher R. Kelble
    • 1
  • Peter B. Ortner
    • 1
  • Gary L. Hitchcock
    • 2
  • Michael J. Dagg
    • 3
  • Joseph N. Boyer
    • 4
  1. 1.Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Louisiana Universities Marine ConsortiumChauvinUSA
  4. 4.Southeast Environmental Research CenterFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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