Much has been written on annual variation of tintinnid assemblages although the mechanism causing the annual variation has been poorly studied either in form of species richness or Lorica Oral Diameter (LOD) size-classes. In the present study, a 10-year (May 2003 to December 2012) survey on species occurrence, abundance, and LOD variation of the tintinnid ciliates was conducted in Jiaozhou Bay, western Pacific. In contrast to previous studies, we found summer peaks in tintinnid species richness in Jiaozhou Bay validated by multi-year investigations. We studied phonology of every tintinnid species and explored the mechanism causing the annual variation. The hypothesis was that tintinnid species richness has a winter baseline, to which warm water species added with the progress of the season. We defined the occurrence types of each species, and found there was only one cold occurrence type species. There was no overlap of cold occurrence type and warm occurrence type in the transitional period between winter and summer. The second aim of this study was to explore annual variations in tintinnid assemblages in form of LOD and redundant species. The species frequency distribution patterns among LOD size-classes were similar all year round. The abundance frequency distribution pattern in LOD size-classes could be divided into two phases: cold phase and warm phase with exception of May and September. The portion of redundant species was about 50% in every month. Our result help understand and predict annual variation of tintinnid assemblages in terms of species richness and LOD in world oceans.
Tintinnid ciliates; Species occurrence; Phenology; Lorica dimensions; Jiaozhou bay