Pteropoda, Cladocera, and Chaetognatha associations as hydrological indicators in the southern Brazilian Shelf
Associations of pteropod, cladoceran, and chaetognath species were analyzed for the southern coast of Brazil in order to present a biological diagnosis of the oceanographic conditions in winter and summer. The density data from the different species were analyzed using nodal and ordination cluster techniques, linking the species associations with salinity and temperature and, consequently, with the water masses occurring in each period. Sagitta tennis and Pleopsis polyphemoides were found to characterize the coastal water and, when associated with Evadne nordmanni and Pleopsis schmackeri, differentiated between the thermal characteristics of winter and summer, respectively. The Sub-Antarctic Shelf Water was characterized by the association of Sagitta tasmanica and Limacina retroversa in winter. The Tropical Water of the Brazil current presented several different associations, with Penilia avirostris, Sagitta enflata, and Creseis virgula dominating the shelf Tropical Water and Sagitta serratodentata, Limacina trochiformis, and Evadne spinifera characterizing the oceanic Tropical Water. The Sub-tropical Water, typical of upwelling processes, was characterized by the association of the chaetognaths Sagitta decipiens and Krohnitta subtilis, both in winter and summer. The species associations defined in this study agree with others carried out in neighboring areas and in previous sampling periods, characterizing the región as the southern transition zone.