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EPIPELAGIC COPEPOD ASSEMBLAGES IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA (1991)

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[Zooplankton samples were collected on a four-month schedule (February, March, May, August 1991) off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, westernmost portion of the Caribbean Sea. Taxonomic analysis of the pelagic Copepoda yielded 89 species, Undinula vulgaris, Temora turbinata, and Farranula gracilis being the overall dominant forms. They represented more than 60% of the copepod numbers during the four months surveyed. The faunistic influence of the surface Caribbean water was evident during the entire period in the surveyed area. Mean diversity was moderate and did not show relevant month-to-month variations during the surveyed period. Station clustering with the Bray-Curtis Index suggests the absence of a definite coast-ocean gradient in the local copepod community, stations being sorted mainly by density differences. Coastal species were recorded well inside the oceanic zone, and oceanic and even mesopelagic forms occurred very near the coast or over the shelf. These effects may result from continuous mixing of coastal and shelf waters with oceanic water because of (1) the narrowness of the continental shelf off the Mexican Caribbean coast, and (2) the effect of local mesoscale circulation patterns. It is suggested that these processes favour the homogeneity of the local copepod community.

Se recolectaron muestras de zooplancton durante cuatro meses (Febrero, Marzo, Mayo y Agosto, 1991) en la costa oriental de la Península de Yucatán, Caribe occidental. El análisis taxonómico de los copépodos generó 89 especies, con Undinula vulgaris, Temora turbinata y Farranula gracilis como las formas dominantes; representaron más del 60% de los copépodos en los meses estudiados. La influencia faunística de las aguas del Caribe en la zona fue evidente en todo el periodo. La diversidad promedio fue moderada y no mostró variaciones mensuales relevantes durante el periodo de estudio. El agrupamiento de estaciones con el índice Bray-Curtis sugiere la ausencia de un gradiente costaocéano en la fauna local, las estaciones se separaron por diferencias de densidad. Se encontraron especies costeras en la zona oceánica y formas oceánicas e incluso mesopelágicas fueron registradas muy cerca de la costa o sobre la plataforma. Esto puede ser efecto de la mezcla continua de las aguas costeras y neríticas con oceánicas asociada con (1) la estrecha plataforma a lo largo del Caribe Mexicano, y (2) el efecto de los patrones de circulación a mesoescala en esta zona. Se sugiere que estos procesos favorecen la homogeneidad de la comunidad local de copépodos., Zooplankton samples were collected on a four-month schedule (February, March, May, August 1991) off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, westernmost portion of the Caribbean Sea. Taxonomic analysis of the pelagic Copepoda yielded 89 species, Undinula vulgaris, Temora turbinata, and Farranula gracilis being the overall dominant forms. They represented more than 60% of the copepod numbers during the four months surveyed. The faunistic influence of the surface Caribbean water was evident during the entire period in the surveyed area. Mean diversity was moderate and did not show relevant month-to-month variations during the surveyed period. Station clustering with the Bray-Curtis Index suggests the absence of a definite coast-ocean gradient in the local copepod community, stations being sorted mainly by density differences. Coastal species were recorded well inside the oceanic zone, and oceanic and even mesopelagic forms occurred very near the coast or over the shelf. These effects may result from continuous mixing of coastal and shelf waters with oceanic water because of (1) the narrowness of the continental shelf off the Mexican Caribbean coast, and (2) the effect of local mesoscale circulation patterns. It is suggested that these processes favour the homogeneity of the local copepod community.

Se recolectaron muestras de zooplancton durante cuatro meses (Febrero, Marzo, Mayo y Agosto, 1991) en la costa oriental de la Península de Yucatán, Caribe occidental. El análisis taxonómico de los copépodos generó 89 especies, con Undinula vulgaris, Temora turbinata y Farranula gracilis como las formas dominantes; representaron más del 60% de los copépodos en los meses estudiados. La influencia faunística de las aguas del Caribe en la zona fue evidente en todo el periodo. La diversidad promedio fue moderada y no mostró variaciones mensuales relevantes durante el periodo de estudio. El agrupamiento de estaciones con el índice Bray-Curtis sugiere la ausencia de un gradiente costaocéano en la fauna local, las estaciones se separaron por diferencias de densidad. Se encontraron especies costeras en la zona oceánica y formas oceánicas e incluso mesopelágicas fueron registradas muy cerca de la costa o sobre la plataforma. Esto puede ser efecto de la mezcla continua de las aguas costeras y neríticas con oceánicas asociada con (1) la estrecha plataforma a lo largo del Caribe Mexicano, y (2) el efecto de los patrones de circulación a mesoescala en esta zona. Se sugiere que estos procesos favorecen la homogeneidad de la comunidad local de copépodos.]

Affiliations: 1: El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Chetumal, Apdo. Postal 424, Chetumal, Quintana Roo 77000, Mexico

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