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On the Value of Certain Plankton Animals as Indicators of Water Movements in the English Channel and North Sea

  • F. S. Russell (a1)

Extract

The possibility that certain plankton organisms retained by a stramin net may prove of value as indicators in elucidating the water movements at the mouth of the English Channel is shown.

The water populated by Sagitta setosa is shown to be clearly demarked from that in which S. elegans lives, the latter living to the west of the Channel mouth south of Ireland. The water in which S. elegans lives has here been called “western” water.

It is shown that the planktonic indicators for “western” water are Sagitta elegans, Sagitta serratodentata, Aglantha rosea, Stephanomia bijuga, Clione limacina, Meganyctiphanes norvegica, Thysanoessa inermis, and Cosmetira pilosella (in spring and summer only). Sagitta setosa is regarded as an indicator of “Channel” water. Muggiæa, Salps, Doliolids, Liriope exigua and Euchœa hebes are regarded as indicators of “south-western” water.

The geographical distribution of S. setosa is discussed. It is shown that it is probably a neritic species mainly confined to the English Channel and North Sea.

S. setosa predominates off Plymouth when the easterly element in the Dover Straits current is suppressed and the flow of Atlantic water into the North Sea from the north is strong (Carruthers' Theory). The two Sagitta populations swing to and fro off Plymouth so that, with a strong flow of Atlantic water into the North Sea from the north, the S. elegans population is pushed westward to the mouth of the Channel and S. setosa occurs off Plymouth.

During the course of the five years, 1930 to 1934, an agreement has been found between the occurrence or absence of concentrations of the diatom Rhizosolenia styliformis in the southern North Sea and the variations in the composition of the Sagitta population off Plymouth In the years in which Ehizosolenia, an indicator of Atlantic water, was abundant in the southern North Sea S. setosa predominated off Plymouth; when Rhizosolenia was absent S. elegans predominated.

These diatom concentrations have been shown by Savage and Hardy t o have an apparent influence on the movements of the Herring which is reflected in the landings at Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

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References

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On the Value of Certain Plankton Animals as Indicators of Water Movements in the English Channel and North Sea

  • F. S. Russell (a1)

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