Mesozooplankton biomass and copepod estimated production in a temperate estuary (Mondego estuary): effects of processes operating at different timescales
Although growth in adult copepods is frequently assumed to be similar to juvenile growth, some evidence have pointed out that under in situ conditions, it can be lower, with, as a consequence, underestimation of secondary production. In addition, under field conditions, juvenile growth in copepods is close to maximum rates estimated at food-saturated conditions. Based on previous assumptions, this study aimed to test the applicability of a new approach for copepod production estimate, derived from temperature-dependent growth models and in situ data, such as seawater temperature and copepod biomass. For this purpose, site-specific copepod juvenile growth models, defined for Acartia tonsa and A. clausi populations from a Southern European estuary (Canal de Mira, Ria de Aveiro, Portugal), were used and copepod biomass was taken from zooplankton samples collected during 2 years at six sampling stations. By comparing the obtained results with published data, the feasibility of the approach for copepod secondary production estimates and its applicability in worldwide marine ecosystems was confirmed. Future studies should combine the estimates of adult and juvenile production in order to evaluate its relative contribution and to obtain a more precise estimate of secondary production.