Plankton distribution and the impact of copepod grazing on primary production in Fram Strait, Greenland Sea

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Two hydrobiological transects across the East Greenland Shelf and the open waters of Fram Strait in summer were chosen to illustrate the distribution and production of phyto- and zooplankton in relation to water masses and ice cover. The parameters used were temperature and salinity, inorganic nutrients, chlorophyll a, primary production, phytoplankton species composition, abundance of the dominant herbivorous copepods Calanus finmarchicus, C. glacialis, C. hyperboreus and Metridia longa, and egg production of C. finmarchicus and C. glacialis. Grazing impact of copepodites and adults of these four species was modelled for each station by using egg production rates as an index of growth. Seasonal development of plankton communities was closely associated with the extent of the ice cover, hydrographic conditions and the water masses typical of the different hydrographic domains. Four regions were identified from their biological acivities and physical environment: The Northeast Water polynya on the East Greenland Shelf, with a springbloom of diatoms and active reproduction of herbivorous copepods. The pack ice region, dominated by small flagellates and negligible grazing activities. The marginal ice zone, with high variability and strong gradients of autotroph production related to eddies and ice tongues, an active microbial loop and low egg production. The open water, with high station-to-station variability of most of the parameters, probably related to hydrographic mesoscale activities. Here, Phaeocystis pouchetii was a prominent species in the phytoplankton communities. Its presence may at least partly be responsible for the generally low egg production in the open waters. Grazing impact on primary production was always small, due to low zooplankton biomass in the polynya, and due to low ingestion in the remaining regions.

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Hirche, H. J. , Baumann, M. E. M. , Kattner, G. and Gradinger, R. (1991): Plankton distribution and the impact of copepod grazing on primary production in Fram Strait, Greenland Sea , Journal of Marine Systems, 2 , pp. 477-494 .

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