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

Hydrographic characteristics and community structure of epipelagic mesozooplankton in the Dongsha (Pratas) Atoll, South China Sea

Hung-Yen Hsieh A B , Jia-Jang Hung C , Yu-Huai Wang C and Wen-Tseng Lo D E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Graduate Institute of Marine Biology, National Dong Hwa University, 2 Houwan Road, Checheng, Pingtung 94450, Taiwan.

B National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, 2 Houwan Road, Checheng, Pingtung 94450, Taiwan.

C Department of Oceanography, National Sun Yat-sen University, 70 Lienhai Road, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan.

D Institute of Marine Biotechnology and Resources, National Sun Yat-sen University, 70 Lienhai Road, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan.

E Corresponding author. Email: lowen@faculty.nsysu.edu.tw

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(12) 2228-2241 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16247
Submitted: 7 July 2016  Accepted: 10 April 2017   Published: 29 June 2017

Abstract

The relationship between hydrographic features and the community structure of epipelagic mesozooplankton was examined among 10 stations of the water body within the Dongsha (Pratas) Atoll during April (spring), July (summer) and October (autumn) 2011. The hydrographic conditions of the Dongsha Atoll were likely influenced by air temperature and rainfall due to the semi-enclosed topography. Surface water was warm and less saline, particularly in autumn, apparently due to the passage of Typhoon Nalgae. The highest mean (±s.d.) abundance of mesozooplankton was recorded in spring (1204 ± 336 individuals m–3) and the lowest was recorded in autumn (45 ± 9 individuals m–3). Twenty-six major mesozooplankton groups were observed across the samples collected. Mesozooplankton communities were dominated by calanoid copepods, crab zoea, fish eggs and foraminiferans, which together comprised 86.01% of the total zooplankton catch. The absence of significant correlation between mesozooplankton abundance and chlorophyll-a concentration indicated that the temporal pattern of the mesozooplankton community seems to be more dependent on physical variables than on primary production.

Additional keywords: pelagic food web, rainfall, reef ecosystem, salinity, zooplankton population.


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