How well does the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) sample zooplankton? a comparison with the Longhurst Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR) in the northeast Atlantic

Anthony J. Richardson*, Eurgain H. John, Xabier Irigoyen, Roger P. Harris, Graeme C. Hays

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey has collected data on basin-scale zooplankton abundance in the North Atlantic since the 1930s. These data have been used in many studies to elucidate seasonal patterns and long-term change in plankton populations, as well as more recently to validate ecosystem models. There has, however, been relatively little comparison of the data from the CPR with that from other samplers. In this study we compare zooplankton abundance estimated from the CPR in the northeast Atlantic with near-surface samples collected by a Longhurst-Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR) at Ocean Weather Station India (59°N, 19°W) between 1971 and 1975. Comparisons were made for six common copepods in the region: Acartia clausi, Calanus finmarchicus, Euchaeta norvegica, Metridia lucens, Oithona sp., and Pleuromamma robusta. Seasonal cycles based on CPR data were similar to those recorded by the LHPR. Differences in absolute abundances were apparent, however, with the CPR underestimating abundances by a factor of between 5 and 40, with the exception of A. clausi. Active avoidance by zooplankton is thought to be responsible. This avoidance is species specific, so that care must be taken describing communities, as the CPR emphasises those species that are preferentially caught, a problem common to many plankton samplers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1294
Number of pages12
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004


  • Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR)
  • Copepods
  • Longhurst-Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR)
  • Ocean Weather Station India
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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