Alternate Title

Zooplankton Variability and Copepod Species Assemblages from a Tropical Coastal Lagoon

Document Type



Results of monthly zooplankton sampling, carried out from December 1990 to November 1991, are compared from three localities in the Mexican Caribbean. Two stations, Bojórquez, and Cuenca Norte, represent partially enclosed areas of the Nichupté Lagoon System in the northeastern region of the Yucatán Peninsula; a third station was located in adjacent neritic waters. At the neritic station, temperature was lower, salinity was higher, and variations in the two parameters smaller as compared to the two lagoon stations. Zooplankton abundance ranged from 3585.5 org./m3 at the neritic station to 18,742.7 org./m3 at Cuenca Norte. Considering all animals collected, decapod larvae (39%), copepods (28.7%) and ophiopluteus-echinopluteus larvae (22.8%) made the bulk of the catch. A total of 47 copepod species were recorded, of these, 14 were found at Bojórquez, 12 at Cuenca Norte and 42 at the neritic station. Acartia tonsa dominated the copepod population assemblage at Bojórquez (94.4%) and made important contributions at Cuenca Norte (34.5%) and in the neritic station (24.5%). Paracalanus quasimodo was most abundant at Cuenca Norte (40.3%) and contributed 20.9% at the neritic station. It is suggested that both, the high capture of A. tonsa in Bojórquez and the dominance of P. quasimodo at Cuenca Norte, is probably related with two factors: the anthropogenically nutrient-enriched condition of Bojórquez lagoon and the relatively higher breeding frequency of the chaetognath Sagitta hispida in Bojórquez. The highest abundance of zooplankters occurred at the stations within the lagoonal system, and the highest number of copepod species was found at the neritic station, where more stable conditions prevailed.

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