We measured abundance and biomass of 3 major groups of microzooplankton, i.e. tintinnids, naked dilates and copepod nauplii, at 21 stations in the Inland Sea of Japan in October 1993, January, April and June 1994. The average abundance of the microzooplankton over the entire Inland Sea of Japan ranged from 2.39 × 105 indiv. m-3 in January to 4.00 × 105 indiv. m-3 in April. Ciliated protozoans, i.e. tintinnids plus naked cilliates, numerically dominated the microzooplankton. The average biomass of the microzooplankton was exceedingly high in October (8.62 mg C m-3) compared to that in the other months (2.06, 2.79 and 2.68 mg Cm-3 in January, April and June, respectively). The ciliated protozoans also dominated in terms of biomass except in October, when copepod nauplii were more important. Estimated production rate of the microzooplankton was highest in October (average: 6.02 mg C m-3d-1) and followed in order by June, April and January (1.94,1.14 and 0.54 mg C m-3d-1, respectively). Due to higher specific growth rate, the production rate by the ciliated protozoans far exceeded that by the copepod nauplii. The trophic importance of the microzooplankton in the pelagic ecosystem of the Inland Sea of Japan was assessed by estimating carbon flow through the microzooplankton community.
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