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Title: Trophic Diversity of Plankton in the Epipelagic and Mesopelagic Layers of the Tropical and Equatorial Atlantic Determined with Stable Isotopes
Authors: Bode, Antonio
Hernández León, Santiago Manuel 
UNESCO Clasification: 251001 Oceanografía biológica
Keywords: Zooplankton
Stable Isotopes
Isotopic Niche
Vertical Migration
Tropical, et al
Issue Date: 2018
Project: "Migradores y Flujo Activo en El Océano Atlántico" 
Biomasa y Flujo Activo en la Zona Batipelágica 
Journal: Diversity 
Abstract: Plankton living in the deep ocean either migrate to the surface to feed or feed in situ on other organisms and detritus. Planktonic communities in the upper 800 m of the tropical and equatorial Atlantic were studied using the natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to identify their food sources and trophic diversity. Seston and zooplankton (>200 mu m) samples were collected with Niskin bottles and MOCNESS nets, respectively, in the epipelagic (0-200 m), upper mesopelagic (200-500 m), and lower mesopelagic layers (500-800 m) at 11 stations. Food sources for plankton in the productive zone influenced by the NW African upwelling and the Canary Current were different from those in the oligotrophic tropical and equatorial zones. In the latter, zooplankton collected during the night in the mesopelagic layers was enriched in heavy nitrogen isotopes relative to day samples, supporting the active migration of organisms from deep layers. Isotopic niches showed also zonal differences in size (largest in the north), mean trophic diversity (largest in the tropical zone), food sources, and the number of trophic levels (largest in the equatorial zone). The observed changes in niche size and overlap (up to 71% between the mesopelagic layers but <50% between the epipelagic and upper mesopelagic layers) support the prevalence of in situ feeding at deep layers in tropical and equatorial zooplankton.
ISSN: 1424-2818
DOI: 10.3390/D10020048
Source: Diversity-Basel [ISSN 1424-2818],v. 10(2), 48
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