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    The Continuous Plankton Recorder in the Southern Ocean: a comparative analysis of zooplankton communities sampled by the CPR and vertical net hauls along 140°E

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    Hunt, B.P.V and G. Hosie
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    A repeat transect was run south of Tasmania, along ~140°E, during November and December 2001. NORPAC nets were deployed during a CTD transect on the southern leg, sampling four depth zones at each of 19 stations: 0–20, 20–50, 50–100 and 100–150 m. A Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) was deployed on the northern leg (average sampling depth = 10.5 m). Both net systems were harnessed with 270 ?m mesh and all sampling was conducted between 47°S and the Southern Polar Front (S-PF) at ~61°S. Zooplankton in the top 150 m of the water column demonstrated strong, small-scale, vertical distribution patterns. Species richness and diversity increased with depth, and were lowest for CPR samples. Conversely, dominance decreased with depth and was highest for CPR samples. Evenness was similar for all sample groups, indicating that all communities had a similar distribution of abundance amongst species. There was little variation in abundance between NORPAC depth zones (average = 82 ± 47 individuals m–3), while abundance was substantially higher in the CPR samples (average = 144 ± 103 individuals m–3), despite it under-sampling fast-moving and delicate components of the plankton community. The higher CPR abundance was due to significantly higher abundance levels of Appendicularia, Oithona similis and Rhincalanus gigas nauplii. The NORPAC samples showed that these three taxa were most abundant in the surface waters. The significant increase in abundance in the CPR samples was attributed to the growth in size during the period between the NORPAC and CPR surveys (minimum 15 days) increasing their catchability. Both the NORPAC nets and CPR surveys identified distinct communities to the north and south of the Southern Sub-Antarctic Front. Owing to its shallow towing depth, the CPR focuses on species with surface distributions. Despite under-sampling some components of the zooplankton, the CPR provided sufficient taxonomic resolution to identify biogeographic zones in the Southern Ocean. The utility of the CPR as a long-term monitoring tool in the Southern Ocean is discussed.