Tintinnid ciliates of Amundsen Sea (Antarctica) plankton communities
The Amundsen Sea has been described as one of the most productive and dynamic pelagic systems in Antarctica and is one of the least studied. Based on samples from 15 stations in the Amundsen Sea, we describe for the first time the composition of the tintinnid ciliate assemblage of the microzooplankton. We compared the species compositions of coastal polynya sites, where the phytoplankton communities are dominated by Phaeocystis, to those of the offshore deep water sites, which are dominated by diatoms. We found a total of 15 species. Polynya sites were dominated by a few species of tintinnids, mostly those endemic to the Southern Ocean. In contrast, the deep-water sites contained many widespread tintinnid species, which are known from a wide variety of systems as well as other areas of the Southern Ocean. We examined polymorphism known to characterize the Antarctic tintinnid species Cymatocylis affinis/convallaria and Codonellopsis gaussi. We found that the types or forms found appeared unrelated to the type of microplankton community, defined by the identity of the dominant phytoplankton taxa. However, the number of different morphotypes found at a site appeared related to the overall concentration of the species, suggesting that different morphologies, previously considered distinct species, may simply be developmental stages.
Keywords: Zooplankton; microzooplankton; polynya; protists; Phaeocystis; diatoms
(Published: 27 May 2013)
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 19784, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.19784
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.