Mesozooplankton distribution in relation to hydrology of the Northeastern Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean

Stamatina Isari*, Alexis Ramfos, Stylianos Somarakis, Constantin Koutsikopoulos, Argyris Kallianiotis, Nina Fragopoulu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The Northeastern Aegean Sea (NEA) is the area where Black Sea waters (BSW) outflow in the Mediterranean enhancing local productivity and inducing high hydrographic complexity. We describe the structure and distribution (both vertical and horizontal) of mesozooplankton assemblages in the NEA during the thermal stratification period in July and September 2003, in an effort to identify BSW effects. The overall standing stocks of mesozooplankton in the NEA were much higher than those typically reported for other pelagic waters of the eastern Mediterranean. Higher abundance and biomass values and a distinctive copepod and cladoceran species assemblage were recorded in the surface layer (directly influenced by the BSW). Variability in the supply and subsequent advection of BSW in the NEA seemed to be the major factor affecting the structure and distribution of mesozooplankton assemblages. In July, lower surface salinity reflected the increased supply of BSW (rich in organic carbon) and, consequently, the abundance of filter feeding taxa (cladocerans, appendicularians and doliolids) was higher than in September. During both surveys, the copepod/cladoceran assemblages of the surface (0-50 m) layer were sensitive tracers of horizontal hydrological and biological variability (e.g. location of fronts) associated with the advection of the BSW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was supported by the EU project ANREC (QLRT-2001-01216) and the Program PYTHAGORAS [European Social Fund (ESF), Operational Program for Educational and Vocational Training II (EPEAEK II)]. The authors thank the captain and the crew of R/V ‘Aegaio’, all participant scientists in the two surveys for their support at sea and particularly Dr. S. Psarra for her valued help. Thanks are also due to two anonymous referees for their advices and suggestions in the improvement of the manuscript.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Mesozooplankton distribution in relation to hydrology of the Northeastern Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this