Comparison of zooplankton sampling performance of Longhurst–Hardy Plankton Recorder and Bongo nets

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Data on the abundance and biomass of zooplankton off the northwestern Portuguese coast, separately estimated with a Longhurst–Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR) and a Bongo net, were analysed to assess the comparative performance of the samplers. Zooplankton was collected along four transects perpendicular to the coast, deployments alternating between samplers. Total zooplankton biomass measured using the LHPR was significantly higher than that using the Bongo net. Apart from Appendicularia and Cladocera, abundances of other taxa (Copepoda, Mysidacea, Euphausiacea, Decapoda larvae, Amphipoda, Siphonophora, Hydromedusae, Chaetognatha and Fish eggs) were also consistently higher in the LHPR. Some of these differences were probably due to avoidance by the zooplankton of the Bongo net. This was supported by a comparative analysis of prosome length of the copepod Calanus helgolandicus sampled by the two nets that showed that Calanus in the LHPR samples were on average significantly larger, particularly in day samples. A ratio estimator was used to produce a factor to convert Bongo net biomass and abundance estimates to equate them with those taken with the LHPR. This method demonstrates how results from complementary zooplankton sampling strategies can be made more equivalent.

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