The Relationship between Plankton and Water Mass Properties in High Arctic (Svalbard) Fjords
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Four areas around the Svalbard archipelago were selected as sampling sites to study the relationship between plankton communities and water mass properties during the spring transitional period. At each station, we sampled physical water properties, phytoplankton, and zooplankton communities. The stations presented different plankton communities: fjords on the west side of the archipelago showed a higher presence of Atlantic water as well as Atlantic communities than the more Arctic site to the east. These differences were likely in part due to each station being at a different stage of the spring transition, which influences the presence or absence of some plankton species. The bloom stages varied from early stages at the most Arctic influenced area to late stages at the most Atlantic influenced area. Several zooplankton species, including the copepod Calanus spp., the krill Thysanoessa spp., and the two ctenophore species were particularly useful in relating plankton communities to the different water mass properties. This study presents plankton community data from little studied areas, as well as presenting many new questions and indicating areas for future research.