Spring 2006 Update: Fall Zooplankton

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During September and October, zooplankton biomass is greatest in the MAB and least in the GOM and GB. Zooplankton biomass was near peak through the mid-1990s, but a gradual decline in biomass started in about 2000. Data from the 2005 autumn Groundfish Trawl Survey, which was completed in early November, provides further evidence for an ecosystem-wide decline in fall zooplankton biomass; biomass values estimated from three of the ecosystem subareas were the lowest observed since 2000. Regional declines in fall zooplankton coupled with regional increases in annual zooplankton indicate important regional dynamics affect the shelf-wide annual patterns.

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