Seasonal variations of abundance and live/dead compositions of copepods in Mersin Bay, northeastern Levantine Sea (eastern Mediterranean)


Abstract: The seasonality of abundance and live/dead compositions of copepods was studied in the northeastern Mediterranean Sea. Zooplankton, chlorophyll-a, and PO4 sampling was performed on a monthly basis from March 2006 to February 2007 at both a coastal station and an open water station. At the coastal station, high phytoplankton biomass was driven by PO4 input from the Lamas River. On annual average, copepod abundance was 53,075 and 140,227 ind. m-2 at the coastal and open water stations, respectively. The most common copepod taxa were Oithona similis, Euterpina acutifrons, Labidocera spp., Oncaea media, and Temora spp. at the coastal station, and Oncaea media, Labidocera spp., Lucicutia spp., Farranula spp., Oithona similis, and Microsetella spp. at the open water station. At the coastal station, dead copepods did not exceed 7% of the population; on annual average, 2.6% of the copepods were dead. At the open water station, on average 10.6% of the copepod population appeared dead; the percentages of dead copepods reached 29.5% in April and 21.7% in May 2006, suggesting that the copepod community suffered higher nonpredatory mortality at the open water station than at the coastal station, especially in the spring.

Keywords: Zooplankton, copepods, carcasses, Mediterranean Sea

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