Distribution of planktonic cnidarians in response to South Atlantic Central Water intrusion in the South Brazilian Bight
- M Nogueira Júnior, FP Brandini, JCU Codina
- Cont Shelf Res
The diel vertical dynamics of gelatinous zooplankton in physically stratified conditions over the 100-m isobath (~110 km offshore) in the South Brazilian Bight (26°45'S; 47°33'W) and the relationship to hydrography and food availability were analyzed by sampling every six hours over two consecutive days. Zooplankton samples were taken in three depth strata, following the vertical structure of the water column, with cold waters between 17 and 13.1°C, influenced by the South Atlantic Central Water (SACW) in the lower layer (>70 m); warm (>20°C) Tropical Water in the upper 40 m; and an intermediate thermocline with a deep chlorophyll-a maximum layer (0.3-0.6 mg m-3). Two distinct general patterns were observed, emphasizing the role of (i) physical and (ii) biological processes: (i) a strong influence of the vertical stratification, with most zooplankton absent or little abundant in the lower layer. The influence of the cold SACW on the bottom layer apparently restricted the vertical occupation of most species, which typically inhabit epipelagic warm waters. Even among migratory species, only a few (Aglaura hemistoma, Abylopsis tetragona eudoxids, Beroe sp., Thalia democratica, Salpa fusiformis) crossed the thermocline and reached the bottom layer. (ii) A general tendency of partial migrations, with variable intensity depending on the different species and developmental stages; populations tended to be more widely distributed through the water column during daylight, and to become more aggregated in the upper layer during the night, which can be explained based on the idea of the "hunger-satiation hypothesis", maximizing feeding and minimizing the chances of being predated.