Zooplankton abundance and diversity in the tropical and subtropical ocean

Ma Luz Fernández de Puelles, Magdalena Gazá, Miguel Cabanellas-Reboredo, Ma del Mar Santandreu, Xabier Irigoien, J. Ignacio González-Gordillo, Carlos M. Duarte, Santiago Hernández-León

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The abundance and composition of zooplankton down to 3000 m depth was studied in the subtropical and tropical latitudes across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans (35 °N-40 °S). Samples were collected from December 2010 to June 2011 during the Malaspina Circumnavigation Expedition. Usually, low abundances were observed with the highest values found in the North Pacific Ocean, Benguela, and off Mauritania, and the lowest in the South Pacific Ocean. No significant differences in abundance and zooplankton composition were found among oceans, with depth being consistently the most important factor affecting their distribution. Each depth strata were inhabited by distinct copepod assemblages, which significantly differed among the strata. The contribution of copepods to the zooplankton community increased with the depth although, as expected, their abundance strongly decreased. Among the copepods, 265 species were identified but 85% were rare and contributed less than 1% in abundance. Clausocalanus furcatus and Nannocalanus minor dominated the epipelagic strata. Pleuromamma abdominalis and Lucicutia clausi were of importance in the mesopelagic layer, and Pareucalanus, Triconia, Conaea and Metridia brevicauda in the bathypelagic layer. Our results provide a global-scale assessment of copepod biodiversity and distribution, providing a contemporary benchmark to follow future ocean changes at low latitudes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 23 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank the participants of the Malaspina Expedition and the crew of the R.V. Hespérides for their assistance during the 7 month cruise. We thank the UTM/CSIC group for their help with the Hydro-Bios multi-sampler and E. Fraile for providing the CTD data and J. C. Garijo for providing environmental data.This study is a contribution to the Malaspina Circumnavigation Expedition, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Consolider-Ingenio 2010, CSD2008-00077, CTM 2012-39587-C04 and CTM2016-78853-R). M. Cabanellas-Reboredo was supported by a postdoctoral contract co-funded by the Regional Government of the Balearic Islands and the European Social Fund 2014-2020.


Dive into the research topics of 'Zooplankton abundance and diversity in the tropical and subtropical ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this