A novel design for sampling benthic zooplankton communities in disparate Gulf of Alaska habitats using an autonomous deep-water plankton pump
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A novel design for sampling benthic zooplankton communities in disparate Gulf of Alaska habitats using an autonomous deep-water plankton pump
  • Published Date:

    2020

  • Source:
    Journal of Plankton Research, 42(4), 457-466
Filetype[PDF-1.00 MB]


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  • Description:
    Deep-water larval fish and zooplankton utilize structurally complex, cold-water coral and sponge (CWCS) habitats as refuges, nurseries and feeding grounds. Fine-scale sampling of these habitats for larval fish and zooplankton has proven difficult. This study implemented a newly designed, autonomous, noninvasive plankton pump sampler that collected large mesozooplankton within 1 m of the seafloor. It was successfully deployed in the western Gulf of Alaska between the Shumagin Islands (~158°W) and Samalga Pass (−170°W), and collected in situ zooplankton from diverse benthic communities (coral, sponge and bare substrates) at depths in excess of 100 m. Key design parameters of the plankton pump were its ability to be deployed from ships of opportunity, be untethered from the vessel during sampling and be deployed and retrieved in high-relief, rocky areas where CWCS are typically present. The plankton pump remains stationary while collecting from the water column, rests within 1 m of the seafloor and captures images of the surrounding habitat and substrate. This plankton pump design is a low-cost, highly portable solution for assessing the role of benthic habitat in the life cycle of mesozooplankton, a linkage that has been relatively underexplored due to the difficulty in obtaining near-bottom samples.
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