Mesozooplankton studies in Monterey Bay:
A tale of three projects

Russell Hopcroft, Ph.D.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Friday, March 5, 1999
12:00 Noon—Pacific Forum (Video Conference to UC Berkeley)

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Over the past two years, an ambitious study of the mesoplanktonic herbivores in Monterey Bay has been undertaken as a postdoctoral project. This project can be separated into three principal components: the epiplanktonic community, the mesoplanktonic community, and an exploratory study of the mesoplanktonic larvaceans. All three components have produced significant insights ‘bucking’ the traditional view of these communities. In the upper 200 meters, small copepods— ignored by traditional sampling programs—dominated the zooplankton community in terms of abundance, biomass, and particularly with respect to secondary production. The same appears to be true in midwaters, although the data is less conclusive and results are somewhat "snowy."

Ongoing analysis will assess the optical plankton counter’s ability to describe both of these communities. In the final area of research, a diverse, vertically stratified larvacean community can now be recognized in midwater. Six new species are currently being described, with more yet to follow.

Next: Bioluminescence in the deep sea

Last updated: December 19, 2000