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Zooplankton taxonomy-related abundance per unit volume of the water column

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  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA7) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). The purpose of this report was to provide an assessment of the plankton ecology for SEA7. Owing to the size of the area being assessed this report divides the region into two sections. The basis of this division follows the 200m depth contour generally accepted as being the boundary between the shelf edge and oceanic realms. The first section being waters found on the continental shelf and are therefore more prone to freshwater runoff from land and anthropogenic inputs. The second section represents waters off the shelf edge, these waters are of a more oceanic origin and are less impacted by inputs from land-based sources. Information on the nutrient biogeochemistry (nitrate, phosphate and silicate) are presented for three geographical provinces, the oceanic and shelf edge realms outlined above and also for the Clyde Sea area this being a region noted as having elevated nutrient loadings from anthropogenic sources.

  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA4) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry. The plankton community in the SEA4 area is similar to that in the North Sea, with variations in the abundances of some individual species. Emphasis in this review is put on trends in the abundances of major phytoplankton and zooplankton taxa over the last 40 years. The study is based on a unique long-term dataset of plankton abundance in the North Atlantic and the North Sea acquired by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR). In the phytoplankton community, conspicuous trends are the steady increase in Phytoplankton Colour (an indicator of phytoplankton biomass) since 1960 and the mid 1980s peak in Thalassiosira spp. abundance. Among the zooplankton the decline in the abundance of Calanus finmarchicus and the increase in that of Calanus helgolandicus since 1960 are probably related to increasing sea surface temperatures in the northeast Atlantic. Phytoplankton blooms are discussed, from the normal annual blooms to harmful algal blooms (HABs). Because of the extensive fish farm industry in coastal regions of SEA4, there is considerable interest and ongoing research into HABs, but there is no clear evidence that they are increasing in frequency or intensity due to anthropogenic eutrophication. Other important components of the plankton meroplankton, picoplankton and megaplankton are also reviewed.

  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This report summarises information on the ecology of planktonic species found in the SEA6 area. The Irish Sea is very diverse not only in the physical-chemical regimes operating upon it, but in the ecology of planktonic organisms found there. Data on the nutrient chemistry of the Irish Sea shows that the eastern Irish Sea is more heavily impacted by nutrients owing to freshwater run-off from land, which is far greater than in the western Irish Sea. Nutrients increased from the 1950's to the 1980's after which time the concentrations have levelled off and in some case declined. The phytoplankton biomass appears to have mirrored the influence of the nutrients both in time and space. Highest biomass (inferred from chlorophyll analysis) is generally found in regions of low salinity and tends to be greatest in the eastern Irish Sea. The phytoplankton community has also been shown to vary throughout the seasons and also within different regions or 'ecohydrodynamic' domains of the Irish Sea. The zooplankton community of the Irish Sea has also undergone significant change over the last thirty or so years. The most noticeable of these changes being a significant decrease in abundance of most of the species recorded. Some species distributions and abundances have been shown to be influenced by climate and it is highly likely that other species of plankton in the Irish Sea are also affected in this way. Climate, or more specifically the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), certainly has a major impact upon the physical-chemical environment of the region and this has a direct influence upon the ecology of planktonic organisms found in the Irish Sea.

  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) and has been written as an addendum to the more comprehensive SEA2 document. The two papers give an overview of the phytoplankton and zooplankton community composition in the North Sea and how this has fluctuated through the latter half of the 20th Century in response to environmental change. The study is based on a unique long-term dataset of plankton abundance in the North Atlantic and the North Sea acquired by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR). The dinoflagellate genus Ceratium dominates the phytoplankton community in the North Sea, but diatoms are also important, especially in the southern part. The normal annual blooms of plankton are discussed, as are harmful algal blooms (HABs), which appear to be on the increase, possibly due to a combination of climatic variability and eutrophication. Among the zooplankton, copepods are particularly important and constitute a major food resource for many commercial fish species, such as cod and herring. Calanus is the dominant copepod genus in the North Atlantic. Other important components of the plankton - meroplankton, picoplankton and megaplankton - are also reviewed. Very small picoplankton (~1 micron in diameter) and much larger gelatinous members of the megaplankton (e.g. jellyfish and ctenophores) are poorly sampled by the CPR. Although the picoplankton represents a sizeable fraction of total primary production, its role in the marine ecosystem is poorly understood.

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    Zooplankton and fish catch statistics comprising species identification and abundances. A proportion of the data relate to unidentified species and estimated abundances (or an indication of abundance magnitude) are often recorded. The data were obtained from the eastern Pacific Ocean, near Baja California, between 1962 and 1972. This data set is based upon the analysis of physical samples from mid-water trawls on research vessels, which were re-examined in 2010. The original samples were collected by John Mauchline at the Scottish Marine Biological Association (SMBA) and re-examined in 2010 by scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA5) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This report provides data on the plankton community in the SEA 5 of the North Sea. Data for this report were provided by the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey, as well as sourced from outside organisations. The SEA 5 area is influenced by the Shelf Edge Current, which breaks off its main route in the form of the Fair Isle Current, the Dooley Current and the East Shetland Inflow. Oceanic water flows into the North Sea in this area, causing periodic incursions of associated planktonic organisms. The report addresses: phytoplankton and zooplankton community composition; Phytoplankton blooms; Abundance of the copepod Calanus; Mero-, pico- and megaplankton; Phytodetritus and vertical fluxes.

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    Zooplankton and fish catch statistics comprising species identification and abundance. A proportion of the data relate to unidentified species and estimated abundances (or an indication of abundance magnitude) are often recorded. The data were obtained from the North Atlantic Ocean, predominantly in the region of the Bay of Biscay, between 1973 and 1984. This data set is based upon samples obtained by mid-water trawls from research vessels. It incorporates digital data recorded in field notebooks and reports, together with the results of a retrospective study in 2010 of preserved specimens from the catches. The original data were collected by John Mauchline at the Scottish Marine Biological Association (SMBA) and re-examined in 2010 by scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

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    Zooplankton and fish catch statistics comprising species identification and abundance. Fish maturity identification and abundance are also recorded for a sub-sample of the total catch. A proportion of the data relate to unidentified species and estimated abundances (or an indication of abundance magnitude) are often recorded. The data were obtained from the Rockall Trough region of the North East Atlantic Ocean between 1973 and 1979. This data set is based upon samples obtained by mid-water trawls from research vessels. It incorporates digital data recorded in field notebooks and reports, together with the results of a retrospective study, in 2010, of preserved specimens from the catches. The original data were collected by John Mauchline at the Scottish Marine Biological Association (SMBA) and re-examined in 2010 by scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

  • This report is a contribution to the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA2. It gives an overview of the phytoplankton and zooplankton community composition in the North Sea and how this has fluctuated through the latter half of the 20th Century in response to environmental change. The study is based on a unique long-term dataset of plankton abundance in the North Atlantic and the North Sea acquired by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR). The dinoflagellate genus Ceratium dominates the phytoplankton community in the North Sea, but diatoms are also important, especially in the southern part. The normal annual blooms of plankton are discussed, as are harmful algal blooms (HABs), which appear to be on the increase, possibly due to a combination of climatic variability and eutrophication. Among the zooplankton, copepods are particularly important and constitute a major food resource for many commercial fish species, such as cod and herring. Calanus is the dominant copepod genus in the North Atlantic. Other important components of the plankton, meroplankton, picoplankton and megaplankton are also reviewed. Very small picoplankton (~1 micron in diameter) and much larger gelatinous members of the megaplankton (e.g. jellyfish and ctenophores) are poorly sampled by the CPR. Although the picoplankton represents a sizeable fraction of total primary production, its role in the marine ecosystem is poorly understood. The introduction of non-indigenous plankton in ship's ballast water has been in progress for about a century. There is growing concern about the risk of alien species, and the importance of protecting native biodiversity.

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    The Catlin Arctic Survey created a unique collaboration between scientists and explorers to undertake field research in the Arctic. Each Catlin Survey comprised of two principle parts. The 'Catlin Ice Base', which was a stationary scientific research base located off the northern coast of Canada; and the 'Explorer Team', comprising of a small long-range specialist team moving on foot from close to the North Geographic Pole towards Greenland. The Catlin Ice Base consisted of temporary polar shelters and tents erected on the sea ice off the coast of Ellef Ringnes Island, Nunavut, Canada, 78°46'27" N / 104°42'49" W. In 2010 and 2011 during the second and third Catlin Arctic Surveys, scientists and explorers examined the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean's water column. In parallel, scientists from the US, UK and Canada conducted experiments at a unique research station on the frozen Arctic Ocean with the support of experienced polar explorers and guides. These datasets (as .xls and .csv files) resulted from the work carried out at the Ice Base. Here a group, of up to 10 scientists and operational staff, were able to collect and analyze samples from under the sea ice as well as deploy heavier instrumentation up to a depth of 200 metres. Scientists at the ice base made measurements of temperature, salinity, total alkalinity, DIC, nutrients, chlorophyll, zooplankton community structure and physiological responses to elevated pCO2 levels. The Catlin Arctic Survey has enabled the monitoring, measuring and collection of information to improve scientific understanding of the processes involved in, and the impacts of, climate change. The scientists researched how changes within the seawater beneath the floating sea ice may be affecting powerful ocean currents that influence prevailing climate and weather patterns worldwide. These data were collected as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey funded by Catlin Ltd. and coordinated by Geo Mission Ltd. Participants were supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) UK Fellowship, PML Lord Kingsland Fellowship, Ralph Brown Expedition Grant from the Royal Geographical Society, NERC's National Centre for Earth Observation, World Wildlife Fund for Nature and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.