Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

Research Technical Report

Effects of the 1997-1999 El Niño and La Niña Events on Zooplankton Abundance and Euphausiid Community Composition Within the Monterey Bay Coastal Upwelling System

Marinovic, B.B., D.A. Croll, N. Gong, S.R. Benson, and F.P. Chavez (2002)

Progress in Oceanography 54:265-277

ABSTRACT

Zooplankton abundance and euphausiid community composition were sampled seasonally (spring, summer, fall) within Monterey Bay, California, between 1997 and 1999. Measurements of sea surface temperature (SST), mixed layer depth, and upwelling indices provided concurrent data on physical oceanographic parameters. Both total zooplankton and krill abundance dramatically declined in the summer of 1997 coincident with a rapid increase in SST and mixed layer depth. Changes in euphausiid community composition occurred in concert with the decline in overall abundance. The relative abundance of the southern neritic Nyctiphanes simplex increased from August to November in 1997, the abundance of cold temperate Euphausia pacifica decreased significantly, and that of the northern neritic Thysanoessa spinifera declined dramatically. The sudden appearance of an adult cohort of N. simplex in July 1997 suggests that rapid poleward flow characteristic of coastally trapped Kelvin waves occurred between June and July of 1997. The persistent presence of warm temperate and subtropical taxa in samples collected between August 1997 and October 1998 indicates that this poleward flow continued in 1998. Zooplankton abundance, euphausiid community composition, and physical oceanographic parameters gradually returned to a more typical upwelling-dominated state in the spring and summer of 1998. E. pacifica and T. spinifera abundances gradually increased during the summer and fall of 1998, while N. simplex abundance abruptly declined in the spring of 1998. However, this recovery was confined to a narrow coastal band as a result of the onshore movement of the oceanic waters of the California Current. This was reflected by higher than normal numbers of the oceanic Nematoscelis difficilis within samples collected during the spring and summer of 1998. By the spring and summer of 1999, both zooplankton and euphausiid abundance had increased to the highest levels recorded during the 3- year study. Both E. pacifica and T. spinifera abundance increased relative to 1998 while N. simplex was completely absent in all samples. These changes reflected the cooler, highly productive environmental conditions associated with the 1998/1999 La Niña.

Suggested Citation:

Marinovic, B.B., D.A. Croll, N. Gong, S.R. Benson, and F.P. Chavez. 2002. Effects of the 1997-1999 El Niño and La Niña events on zooplankton abundance and euphausiid community composition within the Monterey Bay coastal upwelling system. Progress in Oceanography 54:265-277.

URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/research/techreports/trmarinovic2002.html    Reviewed: March 04, 2014
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer | User Survey
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | USA.gov