Winter distribution of Calanus finmarchicus in the Northeast Atlantic

M.R. Heath, J.G. Fraser, A. Gislason, S.J. Hay, Sigrun Jonasdottir, K. Richardson

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Data from plankton sampling and Optical Plankton Counter deployments during six cruises between December of 1994 and 1999 have been used to derive a composite three-dimensional distribution of the abundance of Calanus finmarchicus during winter (December-January) in the Norwegian Sea and Northeast Atlantic. There are two centres of abundance, one in the eastern Norwegian Sea and Faroe-Shetland Channel, associated with the interface between Norwegian Sea Deep Water and Intermediate Water layers, and another in the Irminger Sea southwest of Iceland in association with Labrador Sea Water. In the open Northeast Atlantic, the concentration of wintering animals is around 30% of that in the Norwegian Sea and the vertical distribution is more diffuse and on average deeper. Modelling studies have shown that the overwinter distribution and transport are key factors determining the spatial persistence of C. finmarchicus but, apart from the data presented here, there is little knowledge of these large-scale properties.
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1628-1635
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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