Oceanographic mechanisms that possibly explain dominance of neritic-tropical zooplankton species assemblages around the Islas Marías Archipelago, Mexico
The nearshore zooplankton species assemblage, identified per taxonomic groups (20) and per species for 12 selected groups, was analyzed from samples collected during November 2010 at four volcanic islands of the Islas Marías Archipelago (IMA), located 90-120 km offshore Nayarit, Mexico. From chlorophyll-a concentration and zooplankton biovolume perspective mesotrophic conditions prevailed in comparison with the Gulf of California during November. Crustaceans numerically dominated the zooplankton assemblage (92.3%) [Copepoda (79.2%), Decapoda larvae (4.7%), Cladocera (3.7%), Mysidacea (2.7%), and Euphausiacea (2.0%)]. The other 15 taxonomic groups (7.7% combined) accounted each one less than 1.5% of the relative abundance. Species richness of selected taxa (~56%>) included 259 taxa (121 identified to species, 117 to genus, and 21 not identified). Tropical species from neritic affinity clearly dominated zooplankton assemblage around IMA. Five tropical Copepoda species [Calanopia minor (Dana), Clausocalanus jobei Frost & Fleminger, Acrocalanus gibber Giesbrecht, Canthocalanus pauper (Giesbrecht), and Centropages furcatus (Dana)], a cladoceran Pseudevadne tergestina (Claus), and a Mysidacea species (Mysidium reckettsi Harrison & Bowman) dominated the zooplankton assemblage (accounting about 55% of total abundance of the identified species). Except C. furcatus, all these species are not abundant at oceanic regions of the central and northern Gulf of California. The similarity of multiple neritic and tropical species in the zooplankton assemblage from IMA and Cape Corrientes suggests strong coastal-insular plankton connectivity. Episodic current plumes associated with anomalous intense rivers discharge during rainy years, eddies generated by coastal upwelling event that move offshore, and northward regional oceanic circulation are the most likely mesoscale oceanographic processes that cause costal tropical zooplankton drift enhancing coastal-Archipelago species connectivity in this region.