Mesozooplankton respiration and community structure in a seamount region of the eastern South Pacific

Leissing Frederick, Ruben Escribano, Carmen E. Morales, Samuel Hormazabal, Johanna Medellín-Mora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Seamounts in the Juan Fernandez Ridge, as well as in other seamount regions in the eastern South Pacific and in the world oceans, remain poorly studied ecosystems in terms of structure and functioning. Here, community respiration by epipelagic mesozooplankton in three seamounts of the Juan Fernandez Ridge, including the O`Higgins Seamount close to the coastal upwelling zone and two oceanic seamounts near the Juan Fernandez Archipelago (~33°S–78°W), was assessed. Oxygen consumption by mixed assemblages was estimated using continuous measurements of dissolved oxygen concentration under controlled temperature during onboard, short-term incubations (2–4 h). Mesozooplankton composition was analyzed with a ZooScan device and expressed in terms of community normalized size spectra, and taxa and size diversity (Shannon-Wiener index). Carbon-specific community respiration rates in the upper 100 m layer were in the range of 0.3–1.9 mg O2 m−2 d−1, indicating that up to 3.1% of the mesozooplankton biomass can be respired on a daily basis. The mesozooplankton community was dominated by small-size copepods but the proportions of small copepods, large copepods, and gelatinous zooplankton (mostly salps) changed between the seamounts, in association with modifications in taxa composition, size diversity, and the slope of the size spectrum. Community respiration was significantly correlated to these community descriptors, suggesting the composition of the pelagic community has a direct impact on the total amount of respired-C. Connectivity between the coastal upwelling zone and the Juan Fernandez Ridge region mediated by mesoscale activity, interacting with the seamounts, is suggested as a most important process in controlling zooplankton community structure and in turn community metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-87
Number of pages14
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Community Structure
  • Eastern South Pacific
  • Respiration
  • Seamounts
  • Zooplankton


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