|The mesozooplankton species association in the Belgian part of the North Sea|
Van Ginderdeuren, K.; Hostens, K.; Van Hoey, G.; Vincx, M. (2013). The mesozooplankton species association in the Belgian part of the North Sea, in: Van Ginderdeuren, K. Zooplankton and its role in North Sea food webs: Community structure and selective feeding by pelagic fish in Belgian marine waters = Zooplankton en diens rol in Noordzee voedselwebben: Gemeenschapsstructuur en selectief foerageergedrag door pelagische vissen in Belgische mariene wateren. pp. 49-68
In: Van Ginderdeuren, K. (2013). Zooplankton and its role in North Sea food webs: Community structure and selective feeding by pelagic fish in Belgian marine waters = Zooplankton en diens rol in Noordzee voedselwebben: Gemeenschapsstructuur en selectief foerageergedrag door pelagische vissen in Belgische mariene wateren. PhD Thesis. Ghent University: Ghent. xx, 266 pp., more
Biodiversity; Community; Phenology; Zooplankton; ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine
Belgian part of the North Sea
This manuscript presents the mesozooplankton community structure and its spatial and temporal variability in the Belgian part of the North Sea (BPNS), a first thorough study on this topic in nearly 40 years. Monthly sampling campaigns at ten stations in the BPNS in 2009 and 2010 yielded a total of 137 mesozooplankton taxa (46 holoplanktonic, 50 meroplanktonic and 41 tychoplanktonic), of which nine species had never been reported in the area. Smaller neritic copepods, especially Temora longicornis and Acartia clausi, were present in all samples and dominated zooplankton densities (66 %), together with the appendicularian Oikopleura dioica (10 %). They were joined by high numbers of meroplanktonic echinoderm larvae (9 %) in spring and summer. Based on diversity alone, the mesozooplankton could be typified as one neritic zooplankton community, due to the ubiquitous presence in time and space of the dominant copepods. Yet, these neritic species were often joined by low numbers of oceanic species that are occasionally imported with the inflow of Atlantic oceanic water in the BPNS. Based on a combination of abundance and diversity, our results indicate distinct seasonal and spatial distribution patterns in the mesozooplankton. Months with highest average densities were May, June and July, lowest densities were noted in December and January. Only limited long-term zooplankton data are available for the BPNS from the Continuous Plankton Recorder surveys or the long-term monitoring stations in the vicinity of our research area. However, our data suggest that nowadays zooplankton species appear earlier in the BPNS, comparable with other areas in the North Sea. Densities varied between 150 and 15000 ind.m-3, and averaged highest midshore, then nearshore and offshore. This is partially comparable with the spatial patterns recorded for other ecosystem components, such as demersal fish, epibenthos and macrobenthos, of which densities peak in a stretch almost parallel to but some miles away from the coastline in the BPNS.