Marine Biology

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 4–10 | Cite as

Weight and chemical composition of some important oceanic zooplankton in the North Pacific Ocean

  • Makoto Omori


Wet and dry weight, total carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and ash contents were determined on 33 species of zooplankton distributed predominantly in the open sea region of the North Pacific. Sampling covered the waters from 44°N to the equator. Average percentage of dry weight to wet weight was about 19% of all samples from the whole area. Percentage dry weight of carbon in copepods was on an average 51.5%. The highest value, 66.6%, was obtained in eggs of the copepod Pareuchaeta sarsi. Mixed zooplankton was assumed to contain carbon comprising about 35 to 45% of the dry weight. Carbon contained in the zooplankton biomass existing in the upper 200 m in the western parts of the northern North Pacific and Bering Sea during spring and summer was estimated to range from 20 to 85 mg C/m3. Nitrogen content varied considerably with localities. Average ratio of carbon to nitrogen was 8.5 in subarctic copepods, and 4.1 in subtropic-tropic copepods. This ratio also varied with season. In the copepod Calanus cristatus the ratio was highest (10.0) in May, immediately after the spring bloom of phytoplankton, when the animals contained much fat. The ratio fell to 5.1 in December. There seemed to be a large seasonal variation in boreal zooplankton due to great fluctuations of environmental conditions, especially the amount of food available; in tropical species the range was small because of environmental uniformity. Average hydrogen content was about 6 to 10%. The percentage of ash to dry weight amounted to 39.3% in pteropods and 3.4% in copepods.


Biomass Phytoplankton Nitrogen Content Hydrogen Content Spring Bloom 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Makoto Omori
    • 1
  1. 1.Ocean Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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