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Effect of towing speed on retention of zooplankton in bongo nets

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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Fisheries
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Mathematics


Long-term time series of zooplankton data provide invaluable information about the fluctuations of species abundance and the stability of marine community structure. These data have demonstrated that environmental variability have a profound effect on zooplankton communities across the Atlantic basin (Beaugrand et al., 2002; Frank et al., 2005; Pershing et al., 2005). The value of these time series increases as they lengthen, but so does the likelihood of changes in sampling or processing methods. Sam-pling zooplankton with nylon nets is highly selective and biased because of mesh selectivity, net avoidance, and damage to fragile organisms. One sampling parameter that must be standardized and closely monitored is the speed of the net through the water column. Tow speed should be as fast as possible to minimize net avoid-ance by the organisms, but not so fast as to damage soft bodied zooplankters or extrude them through the mesh (Tranter et al., 1968; Anderson and Warren, 1991).

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