Interannual and interdecadal variation in California Current zooplankton: Calanus in the late 1950s and early 1990s


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Samples from the southern California sector of the California Current System were examined to test for interannual changes in winter–spring abundance of the planktonic copepod, Calanus pacificus, coincident with the 1992–93 and 1958–59 El Niños, each evaluated relative to immediately preceding years, and for interdecadal change (the early 1990s relative to the late 1950s). Calanus was anomalously rare in both of the El Niño periods, as was macrozooplankton, but (unlike macrozooplanktonic biomass) was not rarer in the early 1990s than in the late 1950s. The El Niño anomalies in Calanus’s abundance and macrozooplanktonic biomass were not spatially correlated on the mesoscale, implying that different proximate ecological causes may dominate at this scale.