MEPS 399:141-155 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08357

Seasonal changes in food quantity and quality of the common North Sea copepods Temora longicornis and Pseudocalanus elongatus: a bioassay approach

Marja Koski1,*, Jörg Dutz1, Wim Klein Breteler2, Sebastiaan Rampen3, Anna Noordeloos2

1National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Kavalergården 6, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
2Department of Biological Oceanography and 3Department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: We evaluated the food quantity and quality over a seasonal cycle for the development and egg production of the common North Sea copepods Temora longicornis and Pseudocalanus elongatus, using a bioassay approach. Seston was sampled from December to October from a well-mixed water column of the Marsdiep (Dutch Wadden Sea) and fed to cultured copepods at a constant temperature of 15°C, thus excluding seasonal effects of temperature, body size, age, and maternal nutrition. Copepod response was evaluated by measuring egg production and juvenile development, while the seston quantity and quality were measured as the concentrations of chl a, specific phytoplankton pigments, particulate organic carbon (POC), particulate organic nitrogen (PON), fatty acids, and sterols. The egg production of both copepods was low when feeding on seston collected in winter, but increased to peak values with the seston from the spring bloom in March–April. The juveniles of both species were able to complete their development only in spring experiments. A multiple regression analyses and comparison to a good-quality standard food of the same concentration suggested that, in an annual scale, the egg production and development of T. longicornis mainly depended on phytoplankton concentration, while the egg production and development of P. elongatus appeared also to benefit from detritus or heterotrophic food sources. The present study did not detect an influence of a specific food quality variable; however, an unexplained high juvenile mortality in summer suggests that all factors are not understood yet.


KEY WORDS: Copepod · Food quantity · Food quality · Seasonal dynamics · Bioassay


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Cite this article as: Koski M, Dutz J, Klein Breteler W, Rampen S, Noordeloos A (2010) Seasonal changes in food quantity and quality of the common North Sea copepods Temora longicornis and Pseudocalanus elongatus: a bioassay approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 399:141-155

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