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Zooplankton and ichthyoplankton distribution on the southern Brazilian shelf: an overview
R. M. Lopes, M. Katsuragawa, J. F. Dias, M. A. Montú, J. H. Muelbert, C. Gorri and F. P. Brandini

The southern Brazilian coast is the major fishery ground for the Brazilian sardine (Sardinella brasiliensis), a species responsible for up to 40% of marine fish catches in the region. Fish spawning and recruitment are locally influenced by seasonal advection of nutrient-rich waters from both inshore and offshore sources. Plankton communities are otherwise controlled by regenerative processes related to the oligotrophic nature of the Tropical Water from the Brazil Current. As recorded in other continental margins, zooplankton species diversity increases towards outer shelf and open ocean waters. Peaks of zooplankton biomass and ichthyoplankton abundance are frequent on the inner shelf, either at upwelling sites or off large estuarine systems. However, meandering features of the Brazil Current provide an additional mechanism of upward motion of the cold and nutrient-rich South Atlantic Central Water, increasing phyto- and zooplankton biomass and production on mid- and outer shelves. Cold neritic waters originating off Argentina, and subtropical waters from the Subtropical Convergence exert a strong seasonal influence on zooplankton and ichthyoplankton distribution towards more southern areas. This brief review highlights the need for further experimental studies on zooplankton life cycle strategies in order to understand the major processes controlling food web dynamics in this shelf ecosystem.

Keywords: zooplankton, ichthyoplankton, distribution, biomass, water masses, upwelling, continental shelf, south-western Atlantic Ocean.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 70(2) : 189-202 Back PDF
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