Multi-decadal variations in calcareous holozooplankton in the California Current System: Thecosome pteropods, heteropods, and foraminifera

We examine long-term (1951–2008) variability of three major taxa of calcareous holozooplankton (aragonite-secreting thecosome pteropods and heteropods, and calcite-secreting large planktonic foraminifera) in light of recent interest in the impingement of waters undersaturated with respect to aragonite onto continental shelf depths in the California Current System. We assess interannual variability in springtime abundances of zooplankton sampled in the epipelagic layer, using CalCOFI (California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations) zooplankton samples from two regions: Southern California (SC) and Central California (CC). Thecosome pteropods show no evidence of recent declines in abundance in SC or CC waters. In SC, sampling was sufficient to conclude that heteropods and large foraminifera also show no evidence of declines in abundance in recent years. These results do not preclude as-yet undetected changes in vertical distributions or shell morphology, and underscore the importance of sustained in situ measurement programs in order to detect and understand changes to pelagic ecosystems.



Ohman, M. D., Lavaniegos, B. E. & Townsend, A. W., 2009. Multi-decadal variations in calcareous holozooplankton in the California Current System: Thecosome pteropods, heteropods, and foraminifera. Geophysical Research Letters 36: L18608. Article (subscription required).

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