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Free Content Zooplankton are Major Sources of Epipelagic Bioluminescence in the Southern Sargasso Sea

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In the southern Sargasso Sea, we used a pump-through bathyphotometer (15 l min−1) to investigate stimulatable bioluminescence of the epipelagic zone. Twenty-four percent (range 17–38%) in vertical profiles and 17% (range 6–24%) in discrete depth samples of the flashes were too bright to be produced by dinoflagellates. Of the total bioluminescence detected, these bright flashes contained in vertical profiles 60% (range 53–67%) and in discrete samples 56% (range 29–70%). There were enough bioluminescent dinoflagellates in the bathyphotometer effluent to account for less than 34% of the total flashes detected and less than 45% of the flashes small enough to be produced by dinoflagellates. This information, combined with plankton data, suggests that bioluminescent species of copepods, larvaceans and ostracods produce more stimulatable bioluminescence in the Sargasso Sea than dinoflagellates.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1983

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