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France Collard, Amandine Collignon, Jean-Henri Hecq, Loic Michel, and Anne Goffart (2015)

Biodiversity and seasonal variations of zooneuston in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea


Neuston includes animals and plants inhabiting the surface layer of the water column. The neustonic area is an accumulation zone for bacteria, organic molecules but also terrestrial debris. The surface layer is also the air/water exchange region. Therefore, neustonic organisms are directly exposed to several constraints such as wind stress and turbulence. The present study aims to characterize the zooneuston in terms of abundance and biodiversity and to evaluate the impacts of wind stress on neustonic abundance. Zooneustonic and zooplanktonic (depth of 5 meters) samples were collected twice a month between 30th August 2011 and 10th July 2012 in Calvi Bay, Corsica. Zooneustonic biodiversity was high and, notably, twenty-eight copepod genera were identified. Among these copepods, several organisms, belonging to the Pontellidae family, were much more frequent in neuston than in underlying plankton and their abundance depended on wind direction. Taxon-specific trends in seasonal abundance variation were present. For example, individuals of the Acantharia Lithoptera spp. were found in summer whereas the Pontellidae Anomalocera patersoni appeared in winter. Overall, our data provide a first step towards a better knowledge of neuston community structure in the Mediterranean Sea.

Neuston; Pontellidae; Mediterranean Sea; Plankton; Wind forcing
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology