Short-term changes in the mesozooplankton community and copepod gut pigment in the Chukchi Sea in autumn: reflections of a strong wind event
Abstract. To evaluate the effect of atmospheric turbulence on a marine ecosystem, high-frequency samplings (two to four times per day) of a mesozooplankton community and the gut pigment of dominant copepods were performed at a fixed station in the Chukchi Sea from 10 to 25 September 2013. During the study period, a strong wind event (SWE) was observed on 18 September. After the SWE, the biomass of chlorophyll a (Chl a) increased, especially for micro-size (> 10 μm) fractions. The zooplankton abundance ranged from 23 610 to 56 809 ind. m−2 and exhibited no clear changes as a result of the SWE. In terms of abundance, calanoid copepods constituted the dominant taxa (mean: 57 %), followed by barnacle larvae (31 %). Within the calanoid copepods, small-sized Pseudocalanus spp. (65 %) and large-sized C. glacialis (30 %) dominated. In the population structure of C. glacialis, copepodid stage 5 (C5) dominated, and the mean copepodid stage did not vary with the SWE. The dominance of accumulated lipids in C5 and C6 females with immature gonads indicated that they were preparing for seasonal diapause. The gut pigment of C. glacialis C5 was higher at night and was correlated with ambient Chl a (Chl a, and a significant increase was observed after the SWE (2.6 vs. 4.5 ng pigment ind.−1). The grazing impact by C. glacialis C5 was estimated to be 4.14 mg C m−2 day−1, which corresponded to 0.5−4.6 % of the biomass of the micro-size phytoplankton. Compared with the metabolic food requirement, C. glacialis feeding on phytoplankton accounted for 12.6 % of their total food requirement. These facts suggest that C. glacialis could not maintain their population by feeding solely on phytoplankton and that other food sources (i.e., microzooplankton) must be important in autumn. As observed by the increase in gut pigment, the temporal phytoplankton bloom, which is enhanced by the atmospheric turbulence (SWE) in autumn, may have a positive effect on copepod nutrition.