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Habitat selection of overwintering Calanus finmarchicus in the NE Norwegian Sea and shelf waters off Northern Norway in 2000–02

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The abundance and distribution of overwintering Calanus finmarchicus in the NE Norwegian Sea and shelf waters off North Norway was studied during January for 2000–02. Depth integrated distribution of C. finmarchicus CV showed aggregations with high abundances in the Lofoten Basin and southwest of Tromsøflaket for all three years. The exact location of the aggregation areas and the maximum abundances did, however, vary between the years. The concentrations southwest of Tromsøflaket were almost twofold higher in 2000 at 150 000 ind. m−2 compared to 70 000 and 90 000 ind. m−2 in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Vertical distribution of the animals was similar for the three years, with most of the CVs of the population residing in the depth interval between 700 and 1200 m. Peak abundances of 350 ind. m−3 were found at 850–1000 m west of Tromsøflaket in 2000, whereas in 2001 the maximum abundances were located in the Lofoten Basin at 700–900 m, in the order of 150 ind. m−3. In 2002, the highest concentration of animals was found west of Vesterålen between 1100 and 1200 m, with a concentration of 385 ind. m−3. The vertical and horizontal distribution of C. finmarchicus CV closely followed the hydrographic structures in the area, with the highest abundances associated with cold (<2°C), less saline (34.85–34.9) water with a density of 27.95–28. The patches of high abundance were located in confined areas along the continental shelf slope and in the Lofoten Basin, indicating that the animals may have been extracted from the highly flushed surface areas in late summer during their ontogenetic descent, and trapped in mesoscale physical features in the deep-water masses throughout the winter. We argue that deep-water mesoscale anticyclonic eddies, which are frequently formed along the continental slope and in the Lofoten Basin, may provide favourable retention areas for the overwintering population of C. finmarchicus. Consequently, the impact of ocean climate as well as more regional and local effects on the creation and persistence of these mesoscale features is likely to influence the Calanus abundance and advection paths in the following spring and summer.

Keywords: Calanus finmarchicus; NE Norwegian Sea; habitat selection; hydrography; overwintering

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Norwegian College of Fisheries Science, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway 2: SINTEF, Fisheries and Aquaculture, 7465 Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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