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The potential role of microzooplankton in a northwestern Australian pelagic food web
Moritz, C.M.; Montagnes, D.; Carleton, J.H.; Wilson, D.; McKinnon, A.D. (2006). The potential role of microzooplankton in a northwestern Australian pelagic food web. Mar. Biol. Res. 2(1): 1-13
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Abundance; Biological production; Biomass; Community composition; Food webs; Pelagic environment; ISW, Australia, Western Australia, North West Cape; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Moritz, C.M.
  • Montagnes, D.
  • Carleton, J.H.
  • Wilson, D.
  • McKinnon, A.D.

Abstract
    The role of microzooplankton in waters adjacent to Australia's North West Cape (21°49′S 114°14′E) was studied during the austral summers 1997/1998 and 1998/1999. We estimated microzooplankton abundance and biomass at a shallow (20m) shelf station and at a shelf break station (80m). Microzooplankton were placed into six categories: four ciliate groups (strombidiids, strobilidiids, tintinnids, “other ciliates”), dinoflagellates, and sarcodines. Total microzooplankton abundances ranged between 0.14×103 l−1 and 3.4×103 l−1. The most abundant groups were the dinoflagellates (mean 459±73 standard error l−1) and strombidiids (mean 334±42 standard error l−1). Total microzooplankton biomass ranged between 0.03 and 1.70µg Cl−1 (mean 0.33±0.05 standard error l−1). Redundancy analysis indicated differences in microzooplankton community composition between stations and sampling years but no differences with sampling depth. The microzooplankton community showed considerable variability between adjacent sampling dates, reinforcing the conclusion of earlier studies that this area is a dynamic environment. Ciliate production on the shelf was estimated to be 1.05µg Cl−1day−1 (20mg Cm−2day−1) and 0.79µg Cl−1day−1(70mg Cm−2day−1) at the shelf break. Ciliate production near North West Cape was two- to six-fold higher than the rate of secondary production by juvenile copepods. Despite this, ciliate grazing appears to account for only 5% of primary production and ciliates do not appear to be a major conduit between primary producers and higher trophic levels in these waters.

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