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Free Content Zooplankton biomass and indices of feeding and metabolism in relation to an upwelling filament off northwest Africa

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Zooplankton biomass and indices of grazing (gut fluorescence), respiration (electron transfer system activity, ETS) and growth (aspartate transcarbamylase, ATC) were studied in relation to an upwelling filament off northwest Africa during August 1993. The filament extended 150 km offshore into the oligotrophic waters. It was generated by a trapped, quasi-permanent cyclonic eddy located between the Canary Islands and the African shelf. High biomass, specific gut fluorescence and electron transfer system activity in zooplankton were observed along the filament structure. In contrast, low values of biomass, gut fluorescence, ETS and ATC specific activities were found in the center of the trapped cyclonic eddy. Assuming a 50% of pigment destruction, the calculated grazing impact of zooplankton on primary production varied between 16 and 97%, a high range compared to other oceanic systems. Ingestion, estimated from indices of metabolism and growth, accounted for 47–296% of the primary production (assuming an herbivorous feeding). Mesozooplankton transported offshore into the oligotrophic area fulfilled their metabolic demands with nonpigmented food as observed from the increase of omnivory from the coastal waters to the open ocean. The progressive decay of grazing and metabolic indices along the filament suggests that advection, rather than local enrichment processes, is mostly responsible for the high biomass values in this physical structure.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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