Distribution and abundance of zooplankton in the North Sea during the Autumn Circulation Experiment (October 1987–March 1988) were examined. From shipboard egg production incubations and the distributions of eggs, nauplii and females, the productivity of various copepod species was described. Against the background of surface temperature, salinity and chlorophyll-a distributions, major seasonal changes in plankton biomass distributions and specific production of copepods were seen. High biomass levels in October rapidly declined into November and January, especially in the north. These changes were followed by early (January/February) production and biomass increases in the southeastern North Sea. Although lowest between November and January, depending on species and location, production continued for many copepod species throughout the winter, despite low temperatures and large predator populations. It was concluded that winter survival of herring larvae and other predators was enhanced by herbivore production in the southeastern North Sea, and that in the north, low herbivore production, competition and predation decreased the probabilities of predator survival. Copepod overwintering strategies and the implications of winter herbivore production and predator abundance for later plankton production processes are discussed.
|Journal||Continental Shelf Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|