Abstract Oceanographic features influence the early stages of fish to a high degree. We investigated the influence of continental shelf-slope gradient on the ichthyoplankton composition and distribution off Northeastern Brazil. Two oceanographic campaigns were performed during July-August 2010 and 2012. The samplings were performed along three transects composed by three stations, covering the continental shelf and slope areas. Abiotic data were obtained by an ADCP and a CTD. The ichthyoplankton was sampled through diurnal and nocturnal hauls using a 500-µm bongo net from 200 m to the surface. A total of 1634 larvae and 4023 eggs, representing 91 genera and 76 species, were collected. Higher concentrations of fish eggs were found on the continental shelf, probably because of the North Brazil Undercurrent flux. Higher concentrations of larvae were found at night and could be associated with net avoidance or natural variation. Neritic, oceanic and transition groups of species association were determined. Larvae of neritic, demersal and pelagic fishes prevailed on the continental shelf, while larvae of oceanic, mesopelagic and bathypelagic fishes on the continental slope. Melanostomiidae, Scorpaena sp., Lestidium atlanticum, Lampadena sp. and Diaphus sp. were identified as indicators of the continental slope.
Abstract In the area around the archipelago of São Pedro e São Paulo (ASPSP), a set of small rocky islands in the Equatorial Atlantic, the thermocline begins at a more superficial depth than in the surrounding waters. This raises the question if there is any change in heterotrophic microplanktonic protists assemblages occurring in the surface mixed layer and in the subsurface layer. To answer this question, we sampled seawater in seven depths (between 1-100 m) with a 10L Niskin bottle and obtained temperature and salinity profiles with a CTD at eight sites around the ASPSP. The depth of the surface mixed layer varied between 18-63 meters. Dinoflagellates dominated in terms of abundance representing over 80% and 65% of the individuals found in the surface and subsurface layers, respectively. A PERMANOVA test revealed significant differences (p < 0.001) among the dinoflagellate and tintinnid assemblages occurring in both layers, but no evidence for difference in the radiolarian assemblage was detected. Good ecological indicators were found mainly within the dinoflagellate assemblage. The thermocline induced stratification allowed the development of different microplanktonic protists assemblages above and under the depth of the surface mixed layer in the upper 100 m of the water column.