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Stuck between a rock and a hard place: zooplankton vertical distribution and hypoxia in the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
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Number of Authors: 7
2015 (English)In: Marine Biology, ISSN 0025-3162, E-ISSN 1432-1793, Vol. 162, no 7, 1429-1440 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Zooplankton often migrate vertically to deeper dark water during the day to avoid visual predators such as fish, a process which can strengthen benthic-pelagic coupling. In the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, a pronounced hypoxic layer develops when there is an inflow of anoxic bottom water from the Central Baltic Sea, which could be a barrier for vertical migrants. Here, we report an acoustic study of the distributions of crustacean zooplankton (mysid shrimp and the copepod Limnocalanus macrurus), gelatinous zooplankton (Aurelia aurita) and fish. Zooplankton trawl nets were used to ground-truth acoustic data. Vertical profiles of oxygen concentration were taken, and the physiological impact of hypoxia on mysids was investigated using biochemical assays. We hypothesised that the vertical distribution of zooplankton and fish would be significantly affected by vertical heterogeneity of oxygen concentrations because anoxia and hypoxia are known to affect physiology and swimming behaviour. In addition, we hypothesised that mysids present in areas with hypoxia would exhibit a preparatory antioxidant response, protecting them from oxidative damage during migrations. The acoustic data showed peaks of crustacean zooplankton biomass in hypoxic (< 2 mL L-1) and low oxygen (2-4 mL L-1) concentrations (depth > 75 m), whereas fish shoals and A. aurita medusae were found in normoxic (5-6 mL L-1) upper water layers (< 40 m), with individual fish in deeper water excepting that rule. Mysid shrimp from areas with hypoxia had significantly enhanced antioxidant potential compared with conspecifics from areas with no hypoxia and had no significant indications of oxidative damage. We conclude that mysids can protect themselves from oxidative damage, enabling them to inhabit hypoxic water. Our data suggest that hypoxic and low oxygen zones (up to 4 mL L-1) may provide some zooplankton species with a refuge from visual predators such as fish.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 162, no 7, 1429-1440 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119236DOI: 10.1007/s00227-015-2679-8ISI: 000357344000004OAI: diva2:846207
Available from: 2015-08-14 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2015-08-14Bibliographically approved

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Hansson, StureGorokhova, Elena
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