Distribution, annual cycle, and vertical migration of acoustically derived biomass in the Arabian Sea during 1994-1995

Carin J. Ashjian, Sharon L. Smith, Charles N. Flagg, Nasseer Idrisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The distinguishing characteristic that sets the Arabian Sea apart from other oceanic regions is the regular oscillation of monsoonal atmospheric conditions that produces predictable periods of upwelling or convective mixing, with associated biological response, during the Southwest and Northeast monsoons, respectively. This oscillation is also evident in cycles of standing stocks of zooplankton and micronekton. The vertical distribution and spatial pattern of zooplankton and micronekton biomass were estimated using an acoustic Doppler current profiler along a 1000-km transect extending from the continental shelf of Oman to the central Arabian Sea during ten cruises on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson (November 1994-December 1995). The influence of the Southwest Monsoon, and accompanying upwelling and enhanced acoustically derived biomass, was the dominant feature in the spatial-temporal distributions of both zooplankton and micronekton near the Omani coast. The die1 vertical migration of predators (myctophids, pelagic crabs), and the seasonal changes in the strength of this signal, was the most significant pattern observed in the vertical distribution of biomass and imparted a strong day-night signal to the integrated upper water-column biomass. Significant differences in the magnitude of integrated upper water-column biomass, both zooplankton (day) and migrator-zooplankton (night), were seen between inshore and offshore of the atmospheric Findlater Jet. A station located in the central Arabian Sea demonstrated seasonal changes in biomass over the year, despite being quite far from the influence of the monsoonal oscillations. Predation pressure was greater offshore of the Findlater Jet than in the region inshore of the Jet or in the central Arabian Sea. The pelagic community of the Arabian Sea may have evolved life history strategies to coincide with the predictable monsoonal cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2377-2402
Number of pages26
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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