Zooplankton distribution and feeding in the Arctic Ocean during a Phaeocystis pouchetii bloom

Enric Saiz*, Albert Calbet, Stamatina Isari, Meritxell Antó, Eva M. Velasco, Rodrigo Almeda, Juancho Movilla, Miquel Alcaraz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In early summer 2007 we determined the vertical distribution of mesozooplankton (>200μm) and assessed the copepod feeding rates in 19 stations distributed along the East Greenland Current and the Fram Strait. The study coincided with a bloom of the haptophyte Phaeocystis pouchetii in the colonial form. Copepods dominated the zooplankton community numerically, and were mainly distributed within the upper 150m (except for Metridia longa and Oithona spp., that inhabited deeper waters), without showing a clear avoidance of the P. pouchetii layer. Copepod diet was diverse, ciliates having a relevant share (40% of the diet). Copepods also displayed active grazing upon the colonies of P. pouchetii. In general, feeding rates were low (on average, daily ration was 1.6% of body carbon), likely due to the scarcity of nano and microplankton during the study (<100μgCL-1). Consequently, the trophic impacts on both the nano- and microplankton standing stocks and on primary production were negligible. These results suggest that during the period of study the transfer of carbon and energy from lower trophic levels towards copepods was low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Carlos Duarte for his task as cruise leader. We also thank the crew of the R/V Hespérides and all the UTM technicians for their help. Projects ATOS (POL2006-00550/CTM) and PERFIL (CTM 2006-12344-C02-01) funded this research. We thank Jordi Felipe and Alejandro Alonso for technical assistance. Dr. Maximino Delgado conducted the microscopic counts of phyto- and protozooplankton. We acknowledge the Zoo/PhytoImage development team for providing ZooImage. We especially thank José Antonio Fernandes for answering our questions on ZooImage, and for writing the code for manual classification. Torkel G. Nielsen kindly commented and suggested improvements on a draft version of the manuscript. We also thank the reviewers for their comments and corrections.


  • Arctic
  • Copepod
  • Diet
  • Feeding
  • Fram Strait
  • Greenland
  • Phaeocystis
  • Spitsbergen
  • Vertical distribution
  • ZooImage
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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