Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Influence of oceanic fronts on mesozooplankton abundance and grazing during spring in the south-western Atlantic

Rubens M. Lopes A B , Catarina R. Marcolin A and Frederico P. Brandini A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Instituto Oceanográfico, Universidade de São Paulo, Praça do Oceanográfico 191, São Paulo 05508-120, Brazil.

B Corresponding author. Email: rubens@usp.br

Marine and Freshwater Research 67(5) 626-635 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF14357
Submitted: 11 November 2014  Accepted: 30 March 2015   Published: 6 August 2015

Abstract

We investigated the influence of oceanic fronts on mesozooplankton distribution and grazing activity in the south-west Atlantic. Sampling was conducted during late spring 1993 along a north–south transect between subtropical waters off Brazil and Antarctic waters. Mesozooplankton abundance and biomass were ~10-fold higher in the Subtropical Confluence Zone (SCZ) and in the Antarctic Polar Front (APF) relative to subtropical and subantarctic waters beyond the influence of those frontal systems. Mesozooplankton was dominated by calanoid and cyclopoid copepods. Community ingestion rates ranged between 0.1 and 0.3 mg chlorophyll-a m–2 day–1 in interfrontal areas, increasing to 2.0 and 9.0 mg chlorophyll-a m–2 day–1 in the APF and SCZ respectively. Mesozooplankton grazing removed up to 40% of the total chlorophyll stock in the SCZ, and 22% in the APF, on a daily basis. These estimates suggest that mesozooplankton exert a significant grazing impact on phytoplankton over much of the frontal areas studied. Recent investigations have shown that the geographic position of oceanic fronts and plankton biomass maxima in the study area have remained basically the same from the time of our sampling effort to date, meaning that our results apply to present conditions.

Additional keywords: distribution, feeding, metabolism, standing-stock.


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