Abstract

We analyzed zooplankton biomass, micro- and nannophytoplankton abundance, Calanus pacificus Brodsky 1948 abundance, and sea surface temperature along the west coast of Baja California between February 1983 and September 1991. The zooplankton biovolume abundance decreased from spring to autumn. The average abundance of nannophytoplankton (< 20μm) was generally higher than microphytoplankton (>20μm). Both increased 3.5 times in abundance after 1986. Seasonally, both fractions (NP and MP) were least abundant in winter and most abundant in summer and autumn. Calanus pacificus abundance was variable, but especially high in May of some years. Abundance was lowest in winter and highest in spring, dropping in summer and autumn. Sea surface temperatures averaged 21.5 °C, with highest in autumn (24.2°C) and the lowest in spring (17.9°C). C. pacificus abundance and sea surface temperature were inversely related by cruise, season, and latitude. The phytoplankton abundance and zooplankton biomass and C. pacificus abundance showed low and high abundance patterns coincident with warming and cooling events (El Niño-La Niña).
Keywords: plankton, california current, variability, baja california