Seasonal response of zooplankton to monsoonal reversals in the Arabian Sea

Sharon Smith, Michael Roman, Irina Prusova, Karen Wishner, Marcia Gowing, L. A. Codispoti, Richard Barber, John Marra, Charles Flagg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The US JGOFS Arabian Sea Process Study was designed to provide a seasonally and spatially resolved carbon budget for a basin exhibiting some of the highest and lowest concentrations of plant biomass in the world's ocean. During the US JGOFS Process Study in the Arabian Sea (September 1994-January 1996), the absolute maximum in biomass of epipelagic zooplankton in the entire study was observed during the Southwest Monsoon season inshore of the Findlater Jet in the area of upwelling. The greatest contrast between high and low biomass in the study area also was observed during the Southwest Monsoon, as was the strongest onshore-offshore gradient in biomass. Lowest biomass throughout the study was observed at the most offshore station (S15), outside the direct influence of the monsoon forcing. The greatest day/night contrasts in biomass were observed nearshore in all seasons, with nighttime biomass exceeding daytime in the Northeast Monsoon season, but daytime exceeding nighttime in the Southwest Monsoon season. The diel vertical migration patterns in general reversed between the monsoons at all stations in the southern part of the study area. Virtually, no diel vertical migration of zooplankton took place in any season at the station with strong, persistent subsurface suboxic conditions (N7), suggesting that these conditions suppress migration. Based on the distribution of biomass, we hypothesize that inshore of the Findlater Jet, zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton is the dominant pathway of carbon transformation during both monsoon seasons, whereas offshore the zooplankton feed primarily on microplankton or are carnivorous, conditions that result in reduction of the carbon flux mediated by the zooplankton. Predation by mesopelagic fish, primarily myctophids, may equal daily growth of zooplankton inshore of the Findlater Jet during all seasons. This suggests that the food web inshore of the Findlater Jet is well integrated, may have evolved during past periods of intensified upwelling, and has a distinctly annual cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2369-2403
Number of pages35
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number10-11
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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