Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 29–50 | Cite as

Patterns of zooplankton diversity through the depths of the Arctic’s central basins

  • Ksenia N. KosobokovaEmail author
  • Russell R. Hopcroft
  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
Arctic Ocean Diversity Synthesis


Metazoan zooplankton diversity is characterized for the oceanic environments of the Arctic Ocean, specifically the deep Nansen, Amundsen, Makarov and Canada Basins. Our species inventory is based on original records from 134 locations where stratified sampling of the entire water column was conducted from the surface to the bottom (or a maximum of 3,000 m) during seven icebreaker expeditions (RV Polarstern, 1993-2007, USCGC Healy, 2005) and two older expeditions of the Russian drifting ice stations North Pole 22 and 23 (1975-77). Representatives of eight large metazoan taxa, including Cnidaria, Ctenophora, Mollusca, Annelida, Nemertea, Crustacea, Chaetognatha, and Larvacea, all predominately oceanic species, are registered, with a total of 174 species. Crustaceans strongly dominate in terms of the species number (70%), and copepods are the most diverse group amongst them. Comparison with the historical data suggests that the composition of epi- and mesopelagic zooplankton is relatively well characterized to date, while a considerable number of species we encountered in the bathypelagic layers were either unrecorded before, or undescribed. There appears to be no zoogeographical barrier between the Eurasian and Canadian basins throughout the entire depth range. All deep-water and endemic species are found on both sides of the Lomonosov Ridge, suggesting effective exchange of the deep fauna across the ridge. Notable differences in the species composition in the upper and midwater layers are related to the occurrence of Atlantic and Pacific expatriates advected with their respective waters either into the Eastern or Western Arctic. A pronounced increase in Pielou’s evenness (J'), Shannon’s diversity (H'), and Margalef’s species richness (d) indices with depth, with a maximum occurring within the Atlantic layer, followed by a decrease in the deeper layers, was typical for all deep basins. Species-specific depth preferences and ranges result in statistically distinct communities at different depths with high within-depth similarity (60-80%). Differences were detectable between cruises in the epi- and mesopelagic layers (driven by the expatriates), but less so in the bathypelagic zone.


Zooplankton Arctic Ocean Species composition Diversity Copepods Vertical distribution 



We are thankful to our colleagues for assistance with identification of several non-copepod zooplankton taxa: S. Gagaev, ZIN RAS (polychaetes), V. Petryashov, ZIN RAS (mysids), S.D. Stepanjants, ZIN RAS (siphonophorans), T.N. Semenova, IO RAS (amphipods), and M.V. Angel, NOC (ostracods). The manuscript has benefited from the constructive comments of Slawek Kwasniewski and three anonymous reviewers. Funding for this research was provided by the Sloan Foundation’s Census of Marine Life (CoML) program, the U.S. National Science Foundation through grant OPP-0909571, and jointly by NOAA’s office of Ocean Exploration and Arctic Research Office under grant NA05OAR4601079. The work of KNK was also supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant no. 06-05-65187. This publication is part of the CoML’s Arctic Ocean Diversity (ArcOD) project synthesis and was originally presented at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, January 2010. The support and initiative of ARCTOS and Arctic Frontiers are gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

12526_2010_57_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.1 mb)
Table A (*) Species collected by other sampling gears than plankton nets during the same expeditions (see Raskoff et al. 2010). (**) Species observed in the Arctic Ocean for the first time by other authors using sampling gears other than plankton nets during the same expeditions (see Raskoff et al 2010) (DOC 1105 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ksenia N. Kosobokova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Russell R. Hopcroft
    • 2
  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
    • 3
  1. 1.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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