Summer Distribution of Pontellid Copepods in the Neuston of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf
Abstract:Twelve species of pontellid copepods were collected in summer of 1976 in 158 neuston samples from the eastern continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. Preadults, most of which were Pontella meadi copepodids, were more abundant than adults, accounting for 77–88% of the total number of pontellids collected. This, together with spermatophore attachment to 70–85% of the P. meadi females collected indicates that summer is a period of active breeding for this species. There were no clear trends of abundance at the surface vs. time of day for either adults or juveniles. Off Mobile Bay, Panama City, and Cedar Key, the pontellid assemblages were dominated by species generally considered to be coastal, but off Tampa Bay, five pontellid species previously thought to exhibit oceanic distributions were collected in low salinity (34.42–35.54‰) surface waters over the continental shelf. Among these was Pontella atlantica for which there are no prior reliable reports from the Gulf of Mexico. The presence of “oceanic” species in continental shelf waters suggests that broader zooplankton sampling is needed to define zooplankton-water mass relationships in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1979-07-01
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