Horizontal and vertical dynamics of zooplankton and larval fish communities during mid-summer in Disko Bay, West Greenland

Peter Munk, Torkel Gissel Nielsen, Benni Winding Hansen

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Disko Bay is a highly productive inlet at the border between high- and low-arctic sectors of west Greenland. The physical/chemical conditions in the bay have changed during recent decades, specifically during an inflow event in 1996–1997 that led to increased deep-water temperatures. To further understand the consequences of physical changes to the plankton community in the bay, we examine findings from a field study on mesozooplankton and fish larvae in the areas of Disko Bay and Disko Bank carried out in 1997. We sampled 31 stations over 5 days along four transects and assessed horizontal and vertical distribution patterns, community composition and plankton trophodynamics. Plankton abundance was enhanced near-coast and across the pycnocline, and communities differed between regions. Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and the sandeel (Ammodytes sp.) were among the abundant fish larvae. Productivity/growth estimates of key species of copepods and fish larvae showed no apparent relationship to food availability; they reached weight specific values of ∼6% day−1 for copepods and ∼14% day−1 for fish larvae. Overall, we found a rich and dynamic plankton community, strongly influenced by the complex hydrography of the area. Thus, changes in physical characteristics of the bay could threaten the resilience of its ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)554-570
Publication statusPublished - 2015



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