Community structure and vertical distribution of cyclopoid copepods in the Red Sea

I. Central Red Sea, autumn 1980

Abstract

The species abundance, vertical distribution and diurnal vertical migration of cyclopoid copepods was analyzed in the central Red Sea in October–November 1980. Samples were taken to a depth of 450 m with a multiple opening — closing plankton net with 0.1-mm mesh-size. Selected important species were allocated to five different groups according to their depth distributions during daytime. The greatest number of species (9) was found in the lower epipelagic zone (40 to 100 m), below the strong seasonal thermocline. The lowest number of species (1) occurred in the upper part of the upper mesopelagic zone (100 to 250 m), which is characterized by a strong dissolved oxygen gradient. Five species had a bimodal vertical distribution, with dual peak abundances in the epipelagic and upper mesopelagic zones. Distinct differences in distribution patterns were noted between sexes and/or developmental stages. The vertical range of diurnally migrating species was small, usually less than 50 to 100 m. Characteristic diurnal changes in the vertical succession of dominant species occur within the epipelagic zone (0 to 100 m). Species-specific vertical distribution patterns are compared with published data from other areas. A conspicuous difference in the proportion of carcasses was noted between species: small species (<0.5 mm in length) had a much higher proportion of carcasses, usually between 20 and 40% of the total standing stock, than larger ones (<5%). The potential causes of this phenomenon, which may be due to (1) methodological bias, (2) a lower sinking velocity of small carcasses, or (3) a higher mortality rate of small species, are discussed.

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Communicated by O. Kinne, Oldendorf/Luhe

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Böttger-Schnack, R. Community structure and vertical distribution of cyclopoid copepods in the Red Sea. Mar. Biol. 106, 473–485 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01344328

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Keywords

  • Vertical Distribution
  • Small Species
  • Standing Stock
  • Cyclopoid Copepod
  • Seasonal Thermocline