The influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on 2 major zooplankton species ofthe eastern North Atlantic and the North Sea, Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus (Copepoda, Calanoida), was investigated. Our results confirm that from December to April, west wind stress (WWS) intensity and temperature are strongly related to the NAO. If these results were expected, more striking were the close relationships between NAO and Calanus species abundance. Fluctuations in abundance of C. finmarchicus mainly result from the combination of 2 factors, both driven by the NAO: WWS effects on spring primary production and temperature. The case of C. helgolandicus is more complicated,as the links between this species and the NAO result from the combination of several factors. Two of these factors, spatial heterogeneity of WWS strength over the area and temperature, are directly driven by the NAO. The third one, competition between the 2 Calanus species, is indirectly influenced by the NAO. Biogeographical boundaries of the 2 copepods are also modified by the NAO. Thus, in a comparable way to the El Nifio Southern Oscillation in the Pacific, the NAO impacts the pelagic ecosystem of the eastern Atlantic and the North Sea.
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