Diversity and occurrence of siphonophores in irish coastal waters
Andrea J. McEvoy,
Thomas K. Doyle,
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Damien Haberlin, ; Gillian Mapstone, ; Rob McAllen, ; Andrea J. McEvoy, ; Thomas K. Doyle, (2016). Diversity and occurrence of siphonophores in irish coastal waters. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 116 (2), 119-129
Siphonophores are at times amongst the most abundant invertebrate zooplankton predators in the oceans. Historically, siphonophores have been under-sampled and of the studies conducted there has been a bias towards oceanic oligotrophic waters where they are considered to be more important. In temperate coastal regions, comparatively less is known about the diversity and abundance of siphonophores, where periodic blooms can restructure the plankton communities and have been correlated with high mortalities in the salmon aquaculture industry. To address this lack of knowledge, plankton samples were collected during two periods (March 2009-March 2011 and April 2014-November 2015) from a coastal embayment in the southwest of Ireland. In total, three siphonophore species were found, the calycophoran Muggiaea atlantica, and the physonects, Nanomia bijuga and Agalma elegans. Muggiaea atlantica was the most abundant species (250 colonies m(-3)), with densities an order of magnitude higher than either physonect. Muggiaea atlantica displayed a distinct seasonality, whereas the physonect species were sporadic in occurrence. Comparing siphonophores in Bantry Bay and the Western English Channel (Plymouth Marine Laboratory's L4 station) indicates both regions share a similar pattern of inter-annual occurrence and provides novel information on the seasonality and occurrence of siphonophores in Irish coastal waters.