Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Stuck between a rock and a hard place: zooplankton vertical distribution and hypoxia in the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Zooplankton often migrate vertically to deeper dark water during the day to avoid visual predators such as fish, a process which can strengthen benthic–pelagic coupling. In the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, a pronounced hypoxic layer develops when there is an inflow of anoxic bottom water from the Central Baltic Sea, which could be a barrier for vertical migrants. Here, we report an acoustic study of the distributions of crustacean zooplankton (mysid shrimp and the copepod Limnocalanus macrurus), gelatinous zooplankton (Aurelia aurita) and fish. Zooplankton trawl nets were used to ground-truth acoustic data. Vertical profiles of oxygen concentration were taken, and the physiological impact of hypoxia on mysids was investigated using biochemical assays. We hypothesised that the vertical distribution of zooplankton and fish would be significantly affected by vertical heterogeneity of oxygen concentrations because anoxia and hypoxia are known to affect physiology and swimming behaviour. In addition, we hypothesised that mysids present in areas with hypoxia would exhibit a preparatory antioxidant response, protecting them from oxidative damage during migrations. The acoustic data showed peaks of crustacean zooplankton biomass in hypoxic (−1) and low oxygen (2–4 mL L−1) concentrations (depth >75 m), whereas fish shoals and A. aurita medusae were found in normoxic (5–6 mL L−1) upper water layers (−1) may provide some zooplankton species with a refuge from visual predators such as fish.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1440
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number7
Early online date10 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Spatial variability in total and organic mercury levels in Antarctic krill Euphausia superba across the Scotia Sea

    Seco, J., Xavier, J. C., Coelho, J. P., Pereira, B., Tarling, G., Pardal, M. A., Bustamante, P., Stowasser, G., Brierley, A. S. & Pereira, M. E., Apr 2019, In : Environmental Pollution. 247, p. 332-339 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Internal lee waves and baroclinic bores over a tropical seamount shark ‘hot-spot’

    Hosegood, P. J., Nimmo-Smith, W. A. M., Proud, R., Adams, K. & Brierley, A. S., Mar 2019, In : Progress in Oceanography. 172, p. 34-50 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Use of micronekton data and models to improve ecology of top predators

    Proud, R. & Brierley, A. S., 30 Nov 2018, Zenodo. 23 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Related by journal

  1. Marine Biology (Journal)

    Nora Nell Hanson (Reviewer)
    Mar 2011

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Behavioural and temporal partitioning of dolphin social groups in the northern Adriatic Sea

    Genov, T., Centrih, T., Kotnjek, P. & Hace, A., Jan 2019, In : Marine Biology. 166, 1, 11 p., 166.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Icelandic herring-eating killer whales feed at night

    Gaëtan, R., Filatova, O. A., Samarra, F. I. P., Fedutin, I. D., Lammers, M. & Miller, P., Feb 2017, In : Marine Biology. 164, 2, 32.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Movements and site fidelity of killer whales (Orcinus orca) relative to seasonal and long-term shifts in herring (Clupea harengus) distribution

    Samarra, F. I. P., Tavares, S. B., Béesau, J., Deecke, V. B., Fennell, A., Miller, P. J. O., Pétursson, H., Sigurjónsson, J. & Víkingsson, G. A., 1 Aug 2017, In : Marine Biology. 164, 15 p., 159.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Marine life of the sea trout

    Thorstad, E. B., Todd, C. D., Uglem, I., Bjørn, P. A., Gargan, P. G., Vollset, K. W., Halttunen, E., Kålås, S., Berg, M. & Finstad, B., Mar 2016, In : Marine Biology. 163, 3, 19 p., 47.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Reproductive strategies and energy sources fuelling reproductive growth in a protracted spawner

    Mendo, T., Semmens, J. M., Lyle, J. M., Tracey, S. R. & Moltschaniwskyj, N., 5 Jan 2016, In : Marine Biology. 163, 2.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 226684270