Journal Article

A 9-year increasing trend in mesozooplankton biomass at the Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station ALOHA

Cecelia C Sheridan and Michael R Landry

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 61, issue 4, pages 457-463
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
A 9-year increasing trend in mesozooplankton biomass at the Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station ALOHA

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Mesozooplankton biomass in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), as measured by the Hawaii Ocean Time-series program at Station ALOHA (22.45°N 158°W), increased significantly from 1994 to 2002. The changes occurred at a rate of 60 mg DW m−2 yr−1 for night-time collections and 45 mg DW m−2 yr−1 for daytime collections. Principal components analysis indicates that the 9-year trend was driven by an increase in small (0.5–2.0 mm) zooplankton that do not migrate on a diel cycle. This plankton class is known to increase during the summer at Station ALOHA when the water column is most stratified, and a strong summertime response is also apparent within the long-term trend from 1998 through 2002. Both long-term and seasonal changes in zooplankton biomass at Station ALOHA can be linked to an enhanced role of nitrogen fixation in ecosystem productivity. Climate forcing from El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events may have influenced nitrogen fixation, general ecosystem productivity, and thus zooplankton biomass in the NPSG. However, it is difficult to evaluate the effect of climate cycles in this region without the benefit of a longer time-series at Station ALOHA. Because biomass trends in higher-level consumers like mesozooplankton can have cascading influences on lower levels, understanding the relative roles of bottom-up climate influences and top-down trophic processes will be important in resolving long-term trends in community composition and structure in the subtropical North Pacific Ocean.

Keywords: Central North Pacific; Hawaii Ocean Time-series; nitrogen fixation; subtropical gyre; zooplankton

Journal Article.  3096 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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