oa African Zoology - Euryhaline zooplankton of the Sundays estuary and notes on trophic relationships

Volume 17, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The euryhaline component of the zooplankton in the Sundays River estuary was sampled monthly at 10 stations from August 1979 to April 1981. In deeper regions surface and near-bottom samples were taken (Stations 1 - 7) using WP2 nets. Shallow (<2,0 m) stations were sampled in surface waters only. Water temperature ranged between 14 - 27 cc. A full salinity gradient was present and salinity stratification was well developed. Acartia longipatella was most abundant during winter and spring (maximum 73 300 m - 3) in the lower estuary. The interaction of temperature and salinity as factors regulating temporal and spatial distribution was evident, these factors also interacting in the water column owing to stratification. The pioneer copepod species, Pseudodiaptomus hessei, attained high abundance following floods or increased river inflow. Three species of mysid shrimps were common in the plankton in summer, each species showing clear zones of maximum distribution. Zooplankton standing stock (dry mass) ranged from < 10 mg m - 3 to 1 450 mg m - 3 in surface samples and < 10 mg m - 3 to 8 275 mg m - 3 in bottom samples. Contribution of mysids to standing stock was rarely less than 70% and often exceeded 90%. Differences in standing stock between surface and bottom samples were owing to behavioural differences between the zooplankton species, particularly the mysids. Behavioural adaptations play an important role in the retention of the indigenous zooplankton in the estuary. Aspects of trophic relationships are discussed and demonstrate the significance of the zooplankton in the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels in this estuary.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error