A comparative study of Calanus finmarchicus mortality patterns at five localities in the North Atlantic

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



We compare the patterns of stage-specific mortality of Calanus finmarchicus at five localities across the North Atlantic Ocean during the spring-summer period of active population growth: Georges Bank, a continental shelf locality in the NW Atlantic, based on 30 broadscale survey cruises in the US GLOBEC program; the northern North Sea, studied during the historic FLEX program with sampling four times daily for 73 days; Ocean Station M in the central Norwegian Sea, based on an 80-day daily time-series; and Lurefjorden (sampled weekly in late winter-early summer) and Sørfjorden (sampled monthly), two fjords in southwestern Norway characterized by markedly different guilds of predators. The mortality estimation methods included Wood's Population Surface Method, the Vertical Life Table (VLT) method, and a modified VLT, according to the study site and copepod recruitment schedules. Contrary to assumptions implicit in many simulation models and indirect methods for estimating zooplankton mortality, both rates and stage-specific patterns of mortality of C. finmarchicus vary appreciably across the North Atlantic. Characteristics of local environments, including the predator field in particular, appear to strongly influence mortality schedules in different regions. In at least two sites (Georges Bank and Ocean Station M), mortality rates of early stages of C. finmarchicus are density-dependent. We attribute this density-dependent mortality to egg cannibalism, which introduces non-linear population responses to changing environmental conditions. Region-specific biological interactions can substantially modify the effects of physical climate variability and render simple linear relationships between climate and zooplankton abundance unlikely. © 2004 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

ICES Journal of Marine Science