A seasonal comparison of zooplankton communities in the Kara Sea – With special emphasis on overwintering traits

Hans-Juergen.Hirche [ at ] awi.de


Siberian marginal seas cover large parts of the marine Arctic and host unique zooplankton communities. Detailed knowledge of their community structure and life history traits is a prerequisite to predict their response to ongoing and future climate and anthropogenic changes although winter data is extremely rare. Here data are presented from winter samples (February and April) in four biogeographic regions of the Kara Sea. Comparison of community composition and zooplankton abundance/biomass with data collected during summer showed lower diversity in winter, mainly due to the absence of freshwater species. In contrast to many other northern regions, seasonal biomass differences were relatively small. Year-round high biomass is maintained through a large share of small copepod species and constantly high share of the chaetognath Parasagitta elegans. An advanced state of gonad maturation and reproduction was observed in winter in herbivorous, omnivorous, and carnivorous species, e.g. the copepods Calanus glacialis, Drepanopus bungei, Limnocalanus macrurus, Oithona similis, Pseudocalanus major, Pseudocalanus minutus/acuspes, Paraeuchaeta glacialis, Microcalanus pygmaeus, and euphausiids, hydromedusae, and pteropods. Meroplanktonic larvae of nudibranchia, polychaeta and bivalvia were also registered. Close to the Yenisei mouth, abundance of eggs and larvae of various taxa exceeded older stages. Our data show that the brackish-water zone of the Kara Sea hosts specific communities with omnivorous species efficiently exploiting local resources during the winter and utilizing them for winter reproduction.

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DOI 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.03.030

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Kosobokova, K. N. and Hirche, H. J. (2016): A seasonal comparison of zooplankton communities in the Kara Sea – With special emphasis on overwintering traits , Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 175 , pp. 146-156 . doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.03.030

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