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Regional warming and decline in abundance of Euchaeta plana (Copepoda, Calanoida) in the nearshore waters of the East China Sea

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We analyzed data collected in 1959, 1981, and 1999-2009 in the nearshore waters of the East China Sea (30°00′-32°00′N, 122°00′-123°30′E) to reveal the potential impact of recent regional warming on the abundance of Euchaeta plana Mori, 1937. In a relatively cold period, such as in 1959, E. plana was a dominant species in the study area, and the species was most abundant in spring. However, the abundance of E. plana dropped from 14.1 ind./m3 in spring of 1959 to 0.6 ind./m3 in 2002 with seawater temperature rise. Accordingly, its frequency decreased from 96.3% to 51.9%. A significant decrease in abundance of E. plana was also observed in spring of 1999-2009 compared to 1959 and 1981. This change was negatively related to surface water temperature in May ( r = − 0 . 68 , p < 0 . 01 ), and the decline in abundance was accompanied by decreasing in its maximum abundance ( r = 0 . 90 , p < 0 . 01 ) and occurrence frequency ( r = 0 . 86 , p < 0 . 01 ). Regional warming is thought to be mainly responsible for the decrease in abundance of E. plana in the nearshore waters of the East China Sea. The abundance of E. plana peaked in spring at temperature of 17.8°C, and it is sensitive to temperature fluctuation, suggesting that E. plana is a warm-temperate species and could act as an indicator of marine ecosystem changes in the nearshore waters of the East China Sea.

Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory of East China Sea and Oceanic Fishery Resources Exploitation (Ministry of Agriculture), East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences, 300 Jun Gong Road, Shanghai 200090, P.R. China


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