MEPS 283:199-217 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps283199

Individual variability in the swimming behavior of the sub-tropical copepod Oncaea venusta (Copepoda: Poecilostomatoida)

Laurent Seuront1,2,*, Jiang-Shiou Hwang3, Li-Chun Tseng3, François G. Schmitt1, Sami Souissi1, Chong-Kim Wong4

1Ecosystem Complexity Research Group, Station Marine de Wimereux, CNRS UMR 8013 ELICO, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, 28 avenue Foch, 62930 Wimereux, France 2School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia 3Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan 202, Republic of China 4Department of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China

ABSTRACT: The swimming behavior of males and females of the seldom studied sub-tropical copepod Oncaea venusta was studied using scale-dependent (swimming speed and net-to-gross displacement ratio) and scale-independent (fractal dimension) metrics. The scale-dependent metrics were characterized by: (1) a considerable intra- and inter-individual variability that prevented the identification of any specific behavior and (2) a strong dependence on the number of data points available in each individual path. Conversely, the scale-independent metric (fractal dimensional) resolved reduced intra- and inter-individual variability and independence from the length of the swimming paths, leading to the identification of 4 groups of distinct swimming patterns. While additional behavioral experiments are needed to ensure the relevance and the generality of the present results, behavioral fractal analysis nevertheless demonstrates a promising ability to elucidate the complexity of zooplankton behavior.

KEY WORDS: Zooplankton · Swimming · Behavior · Scale-dependence · Scale-independence · Fractal · Scaling

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