The volume of water filtered by a Continuous Plankton Recorder sample: the effect of ship speed
journal contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by T Jonas, A Walne, G Beaugrand, L Gregory, Graeme HaysGraeme Hays
The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey is one of the largest plankton-monitoring programmes in the world. Since 1931, the CPR has collected ∼380 000 samples, each representing 10 miles of tow. It has been assumed that the volume of seawater filtered by each sample remained constant and close to 3 m3. In this study, the volume filtered for each CPR sample was measured on two routes (SA and IN), monitored by the CPR survey, between 1995 and 2000. Although the filtered volume was near the theoretical value of 3 m3 on the SA route (3.2 m3), it was significantly higher on the IN route (3.8 m3). A significant negative relationship was found between the volume filtered and the speed of the ships. This relationship indicates that the faster the speed of the ship, the lower the volume filtered. This could have implications for the CPR survey as the speed of the ships has increased continuously since the end of the 1950s. However, no significant correlation was found between the long-term changes in the speed of the ships and two commonly used indicators of plankton variability: the Phytoplankton Colour and the Total Copepods indices. This absence of relationship may indicate that the effect found is small in comparison with the influence of hydroclimatic forcing, although a more extensive study is needed to confirm these findings.