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Keywords:

  • copepod nauplii;
  • East China Sea;
  • jack mackerel larvae;
  • Trachurus japonicus

ABSTRACT

In the southern part of the East China Sea (ECS), a large spawning ground of jack mackerel Trachurus japonicus has recently been found. Larval survival during the period of transport from the spawning ground along the shelf break is potentially a critical stage prior to recruitment. As such, the distribution of copepod nauplii in this region was investigated during the main spawning period in 2003–2006. The average naupliar density in 2003 was significantly higher than the other years along the shelf break, which is a major transport pathway for jack mackerel larvae (sea-surface temperature 20–23°C). Estimated egg production rates for Paracalanus spp., one of the most dominant genera of copepods in the southern ECS, based on temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration could not fully explain the spatial and annual variation in naupliar distribution and abundance. Although naupliar densities showed significant positive correlations with chlorophyll-a concentration for all years, an analysis of covariance revealed that naupliar density in 2003 was high even if the effect of chlorophyll-a concentration was excluded. This suggests that apart from copepod production, adult female distribution plays an important role in variability of the naupliar distribution and abundance in the southern ECS.