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Letters to Nature
Nature 234, 468 - 470 (24 December 1971); doi:10.1038/234468a0

Changes in Biological Conditions in the English Channel off Plymouth during the Last Half Century


Marine Biological Association, Plymouth

COMPARABLE observations on chemical and biological conditions in the western English Channel off Plymouth have been made with varying regularity and intensity since 1921, and regular records of nutrient salts and the larger zooplankton were kept from 1924 to 1939. During that period a notable change took place: the herring fishery, which had been a regular winter feature at Plymouth, petered out in the early 1930s when young herring ceased to join the shoals1,2, and at the same time there was a decrease in the amount of nutrient salts present in the water in the winter3 and a very marked, decline in the quantity, of zooplankton including the planktonic stages of bottom-living fish. From 1935 pilchard seemed to take the place of herring4.



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