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Free Content Copepods of the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda: Species Composition, and Vertical and Seasonal Distribution Between the Surface and 2000 M

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A year-round Qualitative and Quantitative study of the cope pods was made over four depth zones (0-500, 500-1000, 1000-1500, and 1500-2000 m) at Station “S”, 32°10′N, 64°30′W. Samples were collected monthly from July 1968 to September 1970 with No. 8 (aperture 0.202 mm) nets and from January to September 1970 with comparable No. 2 (aperture 0.363 mm) nets. Total numbers varied widely during the year; below 500 m numbers tended to be greater from spring to fall and minimal in late fall and-or early winter. Total numbers decreased sharply with increasing depth, most markedly between the upper waters and 500-1000-m depths. Below 500 m, numbers declined exponentially to 2000 m, the slope of the gradient being –6.14 × 10–4.

The species list includes 326 species; many others were not identified. Highest numbers of species were recorded between 500 and 1500 m, where calanoids show maximal species diversity; harpacticoid and cyclopoid species were most numerous in the upper waters. The numbers of species in the upper waters showed a consistent seasonal cycle, with highest numbers in summer to fall and at the time of the spring maximum in numbers and biomass. The size ranges of cope pods varies with depth, the smallest species inhabiting the upper waters; the largest specimens were found between 1000 and 1500 m. Five patterns of depth distribution were noted. The total number of copepod species recorded for the 2000-m water column varied widely during the period studied. Highest numbers of species were noted below 500 m in September 1968 and March to May 1969; minimal numbers were found between October 1969 and February 1970. The seasonal and vertical distributions of the important genera and species are described.

Due to the low primary productivity of the upper waters, it is probable that the majority of copepods feed omnivorously on whatever plant, animal, or particulate material is available.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1977-04-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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