Abstract:The South China Sea is the world's largest marginal sea. To understand the zooplankton community structure during monsoon transition period we investigated the copepod composition, abundance and distribution at six stations along a transect line in the subtropical South China Sea during the autumn of 1999. In the present study, 22 major zooplankton taxa were found, with Noctilucales, calanoid copepods and poecilostomatoid copepods being the most abundant of the overall zooplankton counts. We identified a total of 37 copepod species, in 25 genera, belonging to 19 families. The numerically most dominant genera were Paracalanus, Calocalanus and Oncaea. Communities of zooplankton and copepods of the northern South China Sea demonstrated varied spatial distributions during the investigated period. The present study provides the composition of zooplankton and copepod community structures in the shallow mixed layer of the subtropical South China Sea during the northeast monsoon transition period.