TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 65 (No. 6), pp. 757-779, 2009

Seasonal Variability in Plankton Food Web Structure and Trophodynamics in the Neritic Area of Sagami Bay, Japan

Koichi Ara* and Juro Hiromi

Department of Marine Science and Resources, College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, Kameino, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-8510, Japan

(Received 20 June 2008; in revised form 14 July 2009; accepted 14 July 2009)

Abstract: The plankton food web structure and trophodynamics in the neritic area of Sagami Bay were investigated from January 2003 to December 2005, based on abundance, biomass, production rate and nutritional requirements of pico- (0.2-2 μm), nano- (2-20 μm), micro- (20-200 μm) and mesoplankton (>200 μm: mainly copepods CI-CVI) at 0-10 m depth. The average carbon biomass of the total plankton community was higher in spring and summer (1.452 and 1.466 g C m-2, respectively) than in winter and autumn (0.676 and 0.686 g C m-2, respectively). The average values of primary production and of production rate and food requirement of heterotrophic organisms were higher in summer than in other seasons. During the study period the biomass, production rate and food requirement of small heterotrophs (i.e. bacteria: BA; heterotrophic nanoflagellates: HNF; microzooplankton: MZ) were much higher than those of copepod secondary (CSP) and tertiary producers (CTP), indicating that the microbial food web was the main route of carbon flow from phytoplankton (PP) to CSP and CTP, rather than the grazing food chain. In particular, during summer and autumn the biomass of pico- and nano-size PP plus BA was greater than that of micro-size PP, suggesting the high prevalence of the microbial food web (pico-/nanophytoplankton/BA-HNF/MZ-copepods). During winter and spring, the biomass of micro-size PP was greater than that of pico- and nano-size PP plus BA, suggesting that the indirect route (microphytoplankton-MZ-copepods) probably prevailed, while the microbial food web might be important.

*Corresponding author E-mail: arakoich@brs.nihon-u.ac.jp

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