Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

vertical distribution Related Abstracts

3 Mesozooplankton in the Straits of Florida: Patterns in Biomass and Distribution

Authors: Sharein El-Tourky, Sharon Smith, Gary Hitchcock


Effective fisheries management is necessarily dependent on the accuracy of fisheries models, which can be limited if they omit critical elements. One critical element in the formulation of these models is the trophic interactions at the larval stage of fish development. At this stage, fish mortality rates are at their peak and survival is often determined by resource limitation. Thus it is crucial to identify and quantify essential prey resources and determine how they vary in abundance and availability. The main resources larval fish consume are mesozooplankton. In the Straits of Florida, little is known about temporal and spatial variability of the mesozooplankton community despite its importance as a spawning ground for fish such as the Blue Marlin. To investigate mesozooplankton distribution patterns in the Straits of Florida, a transect of 16 stations from Miami to the Bahamas was sampled once a month in 2003 and 2004 at four depths. We found marked temporal and spatial variability in mesozooplankton biomass, diversity, and depth distribution. Mesozooplankton biomass peaked on the western boundary of the SOF and decreased gradually across the straits to a minimum at eastern stations. Midcurrent stations appeared to be a region of enhanced year-round variability, but limited seasonality. Examination of dominant zooplankton groups revealed groups could be parsed into 6 clusters based on abundance. Of these zooplankton groups, copepods were the most abundant zooplankton group, with the 20 most abundant species making up 86% of the copepod community. Copepod diversity was lowest at midcurrent stations and highest in the Eastern SOF. Interestingly, one copepods species, previously identified to compose up to 90% of larval blue marlin and sailfish diets in the SOF, had a mean abundance of less than 7%. However, the unique spatial and vertical distribution patterns of this copepod coincide with peak larval fish spawning periods and larval distribution, suggesting an important relationship requiring further investigation.

Keywords: mesozooplankton biodiversity, larval fish diet, food web, Straits of Florida, vertical distribution, spatiotemporal variability, cross-current comparisons, Gulf Stream

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2 Essential Elements and Trace Metals on a Continuously Cultivated and Fertilised Field

Authors: Phatu W. Mashela, Pholosho M. Kgopa


Due to high incidents of marginal land in Limpopo Province, South Africa, and increasing demand for arable land, small-holder farmers tend to continuously cultivate the same fields and at the same time, applying fertilisers to improve yields for meeting local food security. These practices might have an impact on the distribution of trace and essential elements. Therefore, the objective of this investigation was to assess the distribution of essential elements and trace metals in a continuously cultivated and fertilised field, at the University of Limpopo Experimental Farm. Three fields, 3 ha each were identified as continuously cultivated (CC), moderately cultivated (MC) and virgin fields (VF). Each field was divided into 12 equal grids of 50 m × 50 m for sampling. A soil profile was opened in each grid, where soil samples were collected from 0-20; 20-40 and 40-60; 60-80 and 80-100 cm depths for analysis. Samples were analysed for soil texture, pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter content, selected essential elements (Ca, P and Mg), Na and trace elements (Cu, Fe, Ni, and Zn). Results suggested that most of the variables were vertically different, with high concentrations of the test elements except for magnesium. Soil pH in depth 0-20 cm was high (6.44) in CC when compared to that in VF (5.29), but lower than that of MC (7.84). There were no distinctive vertical trends of the variables, except for Mg, Na, and K which displayed a declining trend at 40-60 cm depth when compared to the 0-20 cm depth. Concentrations of Fe, Cu, Zn, and Ni were generally low which might be due to their indirect relationship with soil pH. Continuous cultivation and fertilisation altered soil chemical properties; which could explain the unproductivity of such fields.

Keywords: Soil Chemical Properties, Spatial Distribution, vertical distribution, over-cultivation

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1 Assessing Vertical Distribution of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in Westleigh Soil under Shrub Encroached Rangeland, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Authors: Phesheya E. Dlamini, Abel L. Masotla, Vusumuzi E. Mbanjwa


Accurate quantification of the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) in relation to land cover transformations, associated with shrub encroachment is crucial because deeper lying horizons have been shown to have greater capacity to sequester SOC. Despite this, in-depth soil carbon dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in arid and semi-arid rangelands. The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon stocks (SOCs) in shrub-encroached and open grassland sites. To achieve this, soil samples were collected vertically at 10 cm depth intervals under both sites. The results showed that SOC was on average 19% and 13% greater in the topsoil and subsoil respectively, under shrub-encroached grassland compared to open grassland. In both topsoil and subsoil, lower SOCs were found under shrub-encroached (4.53 kg m⁻² and 3.90 kgm⁻²) relative to open grassland (4.39 kgm⁻² and 3.67 kgm⁻²). These results demonstrate that deeper soil horizon play a critical role in the storage of SOC in savanna grassland.

Keywords: soil organic carbon, vertical distribution, shrub-encroachment, savanna grasslands

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