Seasonal patterns in plankton communities in a pluriannual time series at a coastal Mediterranean site (Gulf of Naples): an attempt to discern recurrences and trends
M. Ribera d'Alcalà, F. Conversano, F. Corato, P. Licandro, O. Mangoni, D. Marino, M.G. Mazzocchi, M. Modigh, M. Montresor, M. Nardella, V. Saggiomo, D. Sarno and A. Zingone

The annual cycle of plankton was studied over 14 years from 1984 to 2000 at a coastal station in the Gulf of Naples, with the aim of assessing seasonal patterns and interannual trends. Phytoplankton biomass started increasing over the water column in February-early March, and generally achieved peak values in the upper layers in late spring. Another peak was often recorded in autumn. Diatoms and phytoflagellates dominated for the largest part of the year. Ciliates showed their main peaks in phase with phytoplankton and were mainly represented by small (< 30 mm) naked choreotrichs. Mesozooplankton increased in March-April, reaching maximum concentrations in summer. Copepods were always the most abundant group, followed by cladocerans in summer. At the interannual scale, a high variability and a decreasing trend were recorded over the sampling period for autotrophic biomass. Mesozooplankton biomass showed a less marked interannual variability. From 1995 onwards, phytoplankton populations increased in cell number but decreased in cell size, with intense blooms of small diatoms and undetermined coccoid species frequently observed in recent years. In spite of those interannual variations, the different phases of the annual cycle and the occurrence of several plankton species were remarkably regular.

Keywords: Mediterranean Sea, phytoplankton, ciliates, mesozooplankton, seasonal cycle, long term series.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 68(Suppl.1) : 65-83 Back PDF
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