Zooplankton biomass estimation from digitized images: a comparison between subtropical and Antarctic organisms

Pascal Lehette, Santiago Hernández-León

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 7:304-308 (2009) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2009.7.304

ABSTRACT: The measurement of mesozooplankton biomass in the ocean requires the use of analytical procedures that destroy the samples. Alternatively, the development of methods to estimate biomass from optical systems and appropriate conversion factors could be a compromise between the accuracy of analytical methods and the need to preserve the samples for further taxonomic studies. The conversion of the body area recorded by an optical counter or a camera, by converting the digitized area of an organism into individual biomass, was suggested as a suitable method to estimate total biomass. In this study, crustacean mesozooplankton from subtropical waters were analyzed, and individual dry weight and body area were compared. The obtained relationships agreed with other measurements of biomass obtained from a previous study in Antarctic waters. Gelatinous mesozooplankton from subtropical and Antarctic waters were also sampled and processed for body area and biomass. As expected, differences between crustacean and gelatinous plankton were highly significant. Transparent gelatinous organisms have a lower dry weight per unit area. Therefore, to estimate biomass from digitized images, pattern recognition discerning, at least, between crustaceans and gelatinous forms is required.