The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey of the North Pacific

The aim of these pages is to present some of the most recent data to show the current status of the plankton populations
in regions of the North Pacific that are sampled by the CPR
. These regions are (see map):

(1) the shelf waters west of British Columbia [BC Shelf];
(2) the offshore waters west of British Columbia [Oceanic NE Pacific];
(3) the Northern oceanic Gulf of Alaska [NGoA];
(4) the Western oceanic Gulf of Alaska [WGoA];
(5) the shelf waters southeast of Cook Inlet and including the mid and lower waters of Cook Inlet [Alaskan Shelf];
(6) the shelf waters through Unimak Pass in the Aleutian Islands [Aleutian Shelf];
(7) and the southern deep-water Bering Sea [S Bering Sea].

Data for the current year are presented as monthly means, superimposed on the long-term monthly mean
and minimum/maximum monthly values found in the time series to date (for most regions since 2000).
Open circles are PROVISIONAL data, based on 25% of the samples to be analysed, and numbers will change
as more samples are processed and quality-controlled.
Filled circles are finalized data when all samples have been finalized and QCd.

Four variables have been selected

  • Total Diatom abundance
  • Mesozooplankton abundance
  • Estimated Mesozooplankton biomass (dry weight) and
  • Average Copepod Community Size (based on Richardson et al., 2006 where the published
    length of the adult female represents all individuals of the species).

These variables are believed to provide a useful summary of the plankton, but there are some caveats and limitations:

    • The CPR only semi-quantitatively captures diatoms, and is biased towards the larger, chain forming varieties,
      therefore this may only be a small portion of the phytoplankton community.
    • The number of samples that the provisional data are based on is small, especially for the smaller regions.
      Regions with the best sample density are: Oceanic NE Pacific, Alaskan Shelf, and S. Bering Sea
    • Three regions are sampled by the east-west transect only, which runs only three times a year in spring,
      summer and fall (W. GoA, Aleutian Shelf and S Bering Sea). It is difficult to study the seasonal cycle within
      the current year with just 3 data points (although comparisons with the long term monthly means are still valid).

Data will be updated several times a year - check back regularly for the latest information.

NGoA Oceanic NE Pacific BC Shelf WGoA S Bering Sea Aleutian Shelf Alaskan shelf
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