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Volume 44 - Number 3 - 2009

Density, biomass and composition of zooplankton, in the surface layer of the Cariaco basin, Venezuela

Brightdoom Márquez1, JoséDíaz-Ramos1, Luis Troccoli2, Baumar Marín1 y Ramón Varela3


1Laboratorio de Zooplancton, Departamento de Biología Marina, Instituto Oceanográfico de Venezuela, Universidad de Oriente. Apdo. Postal 245, Cumaná, Sucre 6101, Venezuela
2Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo de Nueva Esparta.
3EDIMAR, Fundación de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, Campus de Nueva Esparta, Pta. de Piedras, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela




In order to understand the processes that determine changes in zooplankton abundance and composition in the CARIACO (Carbon Retention in a Colored Ocean) Time Series Station, zooplankton biomass, composition and density were studied aboard the O/V Hermano Ginés from November 2002 to January 2003. Salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen were measured in situ. Zooplankton samples were collected by vertical tows using a Bongo net (mesh size 333 and 555 mm) at a speed of 2 knots at the intervals 0-30, 30-70, and 70-100 m. Chlorophyll (chl a), zooplankton biomass (dry mass) and density were estimated. The maximum values of biomass (0.039 mg m-3 dry mass) and zooplankton density (582 ind. m-3) for the three strata were measured during the upwelling period. On the other hand, the lower values for these variables (0.030 mL m-3, 0.007 mg m-3 and 7 ind. m-3, respectively) were recorded in May 2003. In general, the greatest values were detected within the 30 to 70 m range. Even though, the variability of the different strata was similar. The zooplankton community was dominated by copepods, cladocerans and appendicularians. The results showed a great temporal variability en zooplankton biomass and composition in spite of the fact that the station is located in a tropical area due to the effect of seasonal coastal upwelling


Key words: Plankton, coastal upwelling, Caribbean Sea




1Laboratorio de Zooplancton, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología,Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. A. P. 70-305, 04510 México, D. F. México
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