Zooplankton samples from the deep water of the Sea of Japan often contain yellowish semitransparent spheres (1.0–1.5 mm in diameter). We recognized these spheres as a single phaeodarian species (Cercozoa, Rhizaria) and described them as Aulographis japonica sp. nov. (family Aulacanthidae) in this paper. This species has a high abundance in the Japan Sea Proper Water (JSPW) and occasionally higher biomass than that of copepods. Molecular analysis based on 18S SSU rDNA revealed that Aulacantha scolymantha, which belongs to the same family as A. japonica, is closer to Aulosphaera trigonopa and Protocystis spp., which belong to different orders, than to the present species. The distribution of A. japonica is apparently restricted to low temperature water. Its biomass was the highest in the uppermost layer of JSPW, and this phaeodarian species was the second most important zooplankton below 250 m depth in terms of biomass among the total zooplankton groups. This is probably due to its generalist type of feeding. Considering its large biomass, A. japonica possibly plays an important role in matter cycles within the Sea of Japan.
Stratified zooplankton sampling was conducted in the subarctic Pacific in June 2009 at four stations along 47°N from 0 to 3,000 m depth to evaluate longitudinal changes in population structure and vertical distribution of the dominant copepod species. At the westernmost station (160°E), the population structure of Eucalanus bungii and Metridia pacifica was dominated by early copepodid stages. In E. bungii, nauplii were abundant and adult females had developed ovaries at 160°E, while at the three stations to the east (167°E, 174°E and 179°W), no E. bungii nauplii were collected, and the resting stages were dominant. This suggests the species was reproducing near 160°E and in diapause in the east. In all three Neocalanus species analyzed (N. cristatus, N. flemingeri and N. plumchrus), late copepodid stages were dominant at the eastern three stations. Lipid accumulation in the fifth copepodid stage of Neocalanus spp. was greater in the west than in the east. This probably resulted from better food conditions and lower temperatures in the west, where copepods could consume more food during development than in the east.
The longterm data on daily abundance of jellyfish (mostly Aurelia aurita) trapped in the intake gates of the Ikata Nuclear Power Plant on the south coast of the central part of Iyo-Nada in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan was examined for a 14-year period (April 1998 to March 2012) in relation to environmental variables, i.e. temperature, salinity, and residual current, of which the last was measured in February, May, August and November. The jellyfish abundance, expressed as wet weight, generally increased in April, reached a maximum in September, markedly decreased from October to November, and was very low or null from December to March. The annual mean jellyfish abundance varied markedly. The interannual variations in the monthly mean jellyfish abundance were not significantly correlated with water temperature or salinity in any month, while correlations with eastward velocity of the residual current in May and August were generally significantly positive. These results indicate that the jellyfish population at the study site had been introduced from the Hayasui strait about 25 km westward, where jellyfish were more abundant. Since the eastward residual current is considered as a part of the cyclonic gyre in Iyo-Nada during the warm, stratification period, it is inferred that the strength of the cyclonic gyre is the main factor affecting seasonal and interannual variations in jellyfish abundance along the south coast of Iyo-Nada.
In coastal ecosystems, variations in food quantity may have significant effects on the clearance and ingestion rates of suspension-feeding bivalves. In this study, clearance rates and ingestion efficiencies were determined for Japanese scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) juveniles (60.6±4.5 mm in shell height) under laboratory conditions. Scallops were kept individually in glass beakers at 15°C and fed with different cell numbers of Pavlova sp. (0.8 to 57.60×106 cells) to provide a wide range of food quantity as particulate organic carbon (POC). Clearance rates (CR) and ingestion efficiencies (IE) were estimated by monitoring POC concentration over a two-day period, and from 2 to 14 days of feeding, respectively. Both CR and IE were significantly influenced by POC concentration. CR ranged from 15.8 to 38.5 mL ind-1 h-1 (or 8.9 to 49.6 mg Ch-1 g dry weight-1) with maximum values at high POC concentrations. IE varied from 40 to 71% and differed significantly between the lowest (2,900 μg C L-1) and highest (8,000 μg C L-1) food rations. The feeding response of juvenile scallops to different POC concentrations was fitted to a power curve equation: IE (%)=0.9272×POC0.5105, r=0.98. Extrapolated field-based estimates of IE ranged from 7.8 to 12.7% in response to seasonal changes in POC concentration (64.5 to 168.6 μg C L-1). It is concluded that particle filtration rates by juvenile scallops are related to food quantity, as suggested by both field and laboratory-derived feeding rates.
We examined the potential advantage of the association of Hemicyclops species with decapod burrows in their avoidance from fish predators through gut-content analysis of fishes collected from the estuary of the Tama River, Japan, and an experiment applying model burrows. The small gobiid species Pseudogobius masago, collected from an area dominated by burrows of the ocypodid crab Macrophthalmus japonicus, showed a high frequency of Hemicyclops gomsoensis in their guts relative to the other co-occurring fish species. In the experiment, no significant difference was observed in the numbers of H. gomsoensis eaten by the goby between the treatments with and without the model burrows. Another goby, Acanthogobius flavimanus, from an area dominated by burrows of the mud shrimp Upogebia major, showed very low frequencies of H. gomsoensis in their guts, as compared with those in P. masago. They had also ingested H. spinulosus and H. ctenidis, in spite of the overwhelmingly high abundance of H. gomsoensis in the burrows. The number of H. gomsoensis eaten by A. flavimanus was significantly lower in the treatments with the model burrows than in the absence of burrows. Since A. flavimanus was the most dominant demersal fish in the study area, H. gomsoensis seemed to avoid predation from this potentially strong predator by inhabiting the decapod burrows. H. ctenidis and H. spinulosus seemed to avoid predation by trespassers by inhabiting the smaller burrows of polychaetes, but this strategy may be less efficient against large predators that feed on polychaetes.
The reproductive characteristics of two estuarine crabs, Chasmagnathus convexus and Helice tridens, which coexist in the Shigenobu River Estuary, Shikoku Island, Japan, were examined on the basis of data collected between April 2001 and March 2002. Seasonal changes in the female gonadosomatic index and occurrence of ovigerous females showed that females of C. convexus spawned mainly from December to March and those of H. tridens spawned from April to July. The mean egg clutch size of C. convexus and H. tridens was 41,600 and 42,500 eggs, respectively (not significantly different) but the mean egg diameter of C. convexus (0.46 mm) was significantly larger than that of H. tridens (0.36 mm). The mean annual fecundity is higher in H. tridens because it produces more egg clutches per year.