Aerial observations of surface patchiness of a planktonic crustacean
Bright red post-metamorphic pelagic juveniles of the galatheid crab Munida gregaria school in the surface layers of coastal waters off southeastern New Zealand in most summers. These schools afford an unusual opportunity for direct observation of their patchy horizontal distribution at scales which are difficult to assess using conventional methods. Aggregated schools are clearly visible from the air up to altitudes in excess of 2,000 m (7,000 feet). Aggregations often occur at river plume and headland fronts, in mid-shelf internal waves and in association with Langmuir circulations. There is a marked grain within these aggregations which vary in their maximum horizontal dimension from around a meter to several kilometers. The observed spatial distributions have interesting implications for use of conventional zooplankton sampling methods. Aggregation of M. gregaria must involve behavioral responses to vertical displacement by downwellings. Onshore transport by internal waves may be a potent mechanism in the recruitment of planktonic larvae into nearshore waters.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1985-09-01
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