A novel approach reveals high zooplankton standing stock deep in the sea
Abstract. In a changing ocean there is a critical need to understand global biogeochemical cycling, particularly regarding carbon. We have made strides in understanding upper ocean dynamics, but the deep ocean interior (> 1000 m) is still largely unknown, despite representing the overwhelming majority of Earth's biosphere. Here we present a method for estimating deep-pelagic zooplankton biomass on an ocean-basin scale. We have made several new discoveries about the Atlantic, which likely apply to the world ocean. First, multivariate analysis showed that depth and Chl were the basic factors affecting the wet biomass of the main plankton groups. Wet biomass of all major groups was significantly correlated with Chl. Second, zooplankton biomass in the upper bathypelagic domain is higher than expected. Third, the majority of this biomass comprises macroplanktonic shrimps, which have been historically underestimated. These findings, coupled with recent findings of increased global deep-pelagic fish biomass, suggest that the contribution of the deep-ocean pelagic fauna for biogeochemical cycles may be more important than previously thought.