Cornils, A., Schnack-Schiel, S.B., Al-Najjar, T., Badran, M.I., Rasheed, M., Manasreh, R. and Richter, C. (2007) The seasonal cycle of the epipelagic mesozooplankton in the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea). Journal of Marine Systems, 68 (1-2). pp. 278-292. DOI

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The abundance and composition of the mesozooplankton were studied in the upper 100 m of the northern Gulf of Aqaba over a period of 22 months between February 2002 and December 2003. The samples were collected monthly with a Nansen net of 200 μm mesh size. The abundance of total mesozooplankton ranged between 245 and 3065 ind. m− 3. Highest densities in 2002 were recorded in spring (March/April) and in autumn (October/November), while several peaks occurred in 2003 with maximum abundance in early summer (June/July). Copepods dominated the mesozooplankton community during the whole sampling period (mean 79%). Molluscs ranked secondly (8%), followed by appendicularians (2.5%) and chaetognaths (2.4%). All other taxa contributed only a small fraction of the total mesozooplankton population (0.3%).

Within the copepods, calanoids were predominant throughout the sampling period (41–83%. mean 61%). Cyclopoid copepods accounted for 17 and 59% (mean 37%) while harpacticoids occurred only in very low numbers (less than 1%). Within the calanoid copepods, smaller sized taxa were abundant, belonging to the families of Clausocalanidae, Paracalanidae, Calocalanidae, Acartiidae and Mecynoceridae. Together they accounted for 84 to 98% of the calanoids. A performed cluster analysis revealed significant difference between the samples from January to May and those from June to December. Accordingly, the abundant calanoid copepod taxa could be divided into two groups: firstly, taxa with high abundance during the transition from winter–spring transition (onset of thermal stratification) and secondly, taxa with high densities during the disintegration of the stratification in autumn. The taxa of the second group showed a positive significant correlation to the annual cycle of temperature, indicating a strong relationship with seasonal changes in the hydrographic features of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 09247963
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 11:32
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:30

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