Interannual variation in spring biomass and gut content composition of copepods in the Kuroshio current, 1971–89
We examined the effects of climate factors on interannual variations of copepod biomass and gut content composition in early spring in the Kuroshio and the slope water off the Pacific coast of central Japan from 1971 to 1989. The biomass trends were different for large (prosomal length ≥ 1 mm) and small (prosomal length < 1 mm) copepods in both waters. Peaks in biomass of large copepods decreased in magnitude, and the biomass of small copepods was low around 1980. For the large copepods in the Kuroshio, 3-year running mean biomass was related to the Kuroshio meander index. The yearly mean biomass was related to diatom abundance in the gut which, in turn, was related to wind speed and temperature. The 3-year running mean biomass of large copepods in the slope water was positively related to solar radiation in March. The biomass of small copepods in both waters was negatively related to solar radiation in February, and years with high biomass of small copepods corresponded with not only the years with high abundance of larger foods (diatoms and micro-sized foods) in copepod guts, but also with the years with high abundance of the nano-sized foods. We hypothesize that nutrient supply to upper layers regulates interannual variation of biomass of large copepods in the Kuroshio. Thus, climate influences both size composition and biomass of copepods in and near the Kuroshio in early spring.