Abundance and spatial distribution of neustonic copepodits of Microsetella rosea (Harpacticoida: Ectinosomatidae) along the western Magellan coast, southern Chile
The pelagic harpacticoid copepod Microsetella rosea inhabits the cold waters along the temperate southern coast of Chile, where its population biology and ecological role in the neuston are unknown. During a CIMAR 16 Fiordos cruise realized in the Magellan Region, 26 neustonic samples were collected to analyze the abundance, spatial distribution of copepodits and oceanographic conditions (temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen). M. rosea copepodits, the most abundant holoneustonic taxa (30% of total abundance), were present at all sampled stations and were 0.5 times more abundant than calanoids. These copepodits inhabited waters ranging between 6.5-8.5ºC and salinity of 26-33, with maximum abundances (1,000-10,000 ind/5 min horizontal drag) at means of 7.2 ± 0.6°C and salinities of 30.7 ± 0.9. Froward Cape, Almirantazgo Sound, and Inútil Bay stations accounted for 65% of total M. rosea abundance, whereas Beagle Channel stations present the lowest abundances (<4%). The entire sampling area was as an oxygenated estuary (7.4 ± 0.4 mL L-1). Given the abundance and recurrence of M. rosea in the Magellanic neuston, future research should assess the ecological functions of this species. Finally,M. rosea could also be used as a biotracer for processes of aggregation in other estuarine neustonic communities of southern Chile.