Comparative population structure, abundance and vertical distribution of six copepod species in the North Atlantic: Evidence for intraguild predation?

Xabier Irigoien*, Roger P. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The abundance, vertical distribution and stage composition of the copepods Euchaeta norvegica, Metridia lucens and Pleuromamma robusta and the abundance and vertical distribution of Acartia sp., Oithona spp. and Oncaea sp. were analysed for a period of 4.5 years (1971-1974), based on data previously collected at weather station India in the North Atlantic (59°N, 19°W). The results were compared with previously published results on Calanus finmarchicus during the same study. The factor analysis showed two well-differentiated groups. The cohort development and abundance of C. finmarchicus, E. norvegica and Oncaea were related to successive phytoplankton blooms. On the contrary, the cohort development and abundance of M. lucens, P. robusta, Acartia spp. and Oithona spp. were not related to phytoplankton concentration and showed negative relationships with Calanus abundance. We suggest that C. finmarchicus, which largely dominates the biomass at station India, could play a key role in the structuring of the community: as prey for the carnivorous E. norvegica, vectoring the spring bloom to deep waters through faecal pellet consumption by the coprophagous Oncaea spp., and through intraguild predation on the early stages of other omnivorous copepods such as Acartia, Oithona, M. lucens and P. robusta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Biology Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the NERC Marine Productivity Thematic Programme (projects NER/ T/S/2001/01256 and NER/T/S/2001/00140). XI was supported by a Ramon y Cajal grant from the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology. The weather ship India data were made available through the PRIME project. We thank Polly Machin, British Oceanographic Data Centre, for help in accessing the data and Eurgain Jones and Angel Lopez-Urrutia for their help in organizing all the files and to D. Conway for data on size distributions. Recognition is also due to R. Williams and his team for the work


  • Acartia sp.
  • Euchaeta norvegica
  • Intraguild predation
  • Metridia lucens
  • Oithona sp.
  • Oncaea sp.
  • Pleuromamma robusta
  • Population structure
  • Vertical distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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