Variability in Calanus spp. abundance on fine- to mesoscales in an Arctic fjord: implications for little auk feeding
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMarine Biology Research 2014, 10(5):437-448 10.1080/17451000.2013.815781
We studied the abundance of calanoid copepods of the genus Calanus in a high-resolution sampling grid located in the vicinity of a breeding colony of an avian Calanus predator, the little auk (Alle alle) in an Arctic fjord (Isfjorden, Svalbard) in July 2007. Within diving reach of little auks, all copepodite stages of C. finmarchicus, as well as stages CIII–CV of C. glacialis, were recorded in all 26 stations sampled. Spatial autocorrelation analysis was used to detect spatial heterogeneity (patches) in the distribution of Calanus spp. Positive spatial autocorrelation was detected on scales up to 1.2 km for C. finmarchicus stages CIII–CV and for C. glacialis CIV and CV, but was rarely detected for the younger stages. This suggests that the tendency to form patches varies with ontogeny in Calanus spp. At an adjacent little auk colony, the diet prey composition from 30 gular pouches of little auks returning from feeding trips was investigated. Calanus glacialis CIV and CV were numerically dominant in the prey samples, while C. finmarchicus CIV which was dominant in the net samples did not contribute to the little auk diet. This could suggest selective feeding, a detection of patches beyond the scale of our survey, feeding beyond the sampling area or a combination of these factors. Large Calanus abundance differences within the sampling grid underline the necessity of a proper choice of grid size, in this case 2 km between stations.