Tidally oriented vertical migration and position maintenance of zooplankton in a temperate estuary

Limnology and Oceanography

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In many estuaries, maxima in turbidity and abundance of several common species of zooplankton occur in the low salinity zone (LSZ) in the range of 0.5-6 practical salinity units (psu). Analysis of zooplankton abundance from monitoring in 1972-1987 revealed that historical maxima in abundance of the copepod Eurytemora affinis and the mysid Neomysis mercedis, and in turbidity as determined from Secchi disk data, were close to the estimated position of 2 psu bottom salinity. The copepod Sinocalanus doerrii had a maximum slightly landward of that of E. affinis. After 1987 these maxima decreased and shifted to a lower salinity, presumably because of the effects of grazing by the introduced clam Potamocorbula amurensis. At the same time, the copepod Pseudodiaptomus forbesi, the mysid Acanthomysis sp., and amphipods became abundant with peaks at salinity around 0.2-0.5 psu. Plausible mechanisms for maintenance of these persistent abundance peaks include interactions between variation in flow and abundance, either in the vertical or horizontal plane, or higher net population growth rate in the peaks than seaward of the peaks. In spring of 1994, a dry year, we sampled in and near the LSZ using a Lagrangian sampling scheme to follow selected isohalines while sampling over several complete tidal cycles. Acoustic Doppler current profilers were used to provide detailed velocity distributions to enable us to estimate longitudinal fluxes of organisms. Stratification was weak and gravitational circulation nearly absent in the LSZ. All of the common species of zooplankton migrated vertically in response to the tides, with abundance higher in the water column on the flood than on the ebb. Migration of mysids and amphipods was sufficient to override net seaward flow to produce a net landward flux of organisms. Migration of copepods, however, was insufficient to reverse or even greatly diminish the net seaward flux of organisms, implying alternative mechanisms of position maintenance.

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Tidally oriented vertical migration and position maintenance of zooplankton in a temperate estuary
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Limnology and Oceanography
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Pacific Regional Director's Office, San Francisco Bay-Delta
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Limnology and Oceanography
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