MEPS 272:165-181 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps272165

Life-cycle phenotypic composition and mortality of Calanoides acutus (Copepoda: Calanoida) in the Scotia Sea: a modelling approach

G. A. Tarling*, R. S. Shreeve, P. Ward, A. Atkinson, A. G. Hirst

British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Rd, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK

ABSTRACT: A modelling approach was developed to identify the most likely composition of life-cycle phenotypes and mortality rates for Calanoides acutus found within the Scotia Sea. A stage- and age-structured model was parameterised with independent measurements of early copepodite stage duration, growth rate during the productive period and mortality and weight loss during the overwintering period. Four possible life-phenotypes were simulated, varying according to whether (1) they spent their first winter as a CIV or CV stage, and (2) they persisted for between one and several years. The mortality rate coefficient during the epipelagic period was allowed to vary between 0.01 and 0.1 d-1. Model runs determined the effect of all possible combinations of these variables on the abundance of the late copepodite stages, and predictions were compared to a comprehensive empirical data set, encompassing observations made over the last 60 yr. Best fits were achieved when 70% of the Scotia Sea population overwintered as a CV stage and 30% as CIV, with the majority of individuals reaching adulthood in their first year (after 1 overwintering period). During the epipelagic period, the population experienced mortality rate coefficients close to 0.06 d-1. This high rate makes it unlikely that the earliest recruits survive to the end of the productive season. Predation was responsible for over 80% of mortality during winter. Starvation, which made up the remainder, mostly affected individuals that were spawned late in the season. The total rate of overwintering mortality was less than 0.007 d-1. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that model predictions were robust and identified the most likely causes of interannual and spatial variation in the observed data sets.

KEY WORDS: Copepod · Development · Antarctica · Population · Zooplankton · Life-history · Growth · Diapause

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