Temporal and Spatial Variability of Mesozooplankton in a Shallow Sub-Tropical Bay: Influence of Top-Down Control
Quantifying the relationship between mesozooplankton and water quality parameters identifies the factors that structure the mesozooplankton community and can be used to generate hypotheses regarding the mechanisms that control the mesozooplankton population and potentially the trophic network. To investigate this relationship, mesozooplankton and water quality data were collected in Florida Bay from 1994 to 2004. Three key characteristics were found in the mesozooplankton community structure: (1) there are significant differences between the four sub-regions of Florida Bay; (2) there is a break in May of 1997 with significant differences before and after this date; and (3) there is a positive correlation between mesozooplankton abundance and salinity. The latter two characteristics are closely correlated with predator abundance, indicating the importance of top-down control. Hypersaline periods appear to provide a refuge from predators, allowing mesozooplankton to increase in abundance despite the increased physiological stress.
Kelble, C.R., P.B. Ortner, G.L. Hitchcock, M.J. Dagg, J.N. Boyer. 2010. Temporal and Spatial Variability of Mesozooplankton in a Shallow Sub-Tropical Bay: Influence of Top-Down Control. Estuaries and Coasts 33(3): 723-737.