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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 143:37-44 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps143037

Trade-off between offspring number and offspring size in the marine copepod Euterpina acutifrons at different food concentrations

Guisande C, Sánchez J, Maneiro I, Miranda A

We collected females of the marine copepod Euterpina acutifrons monthly from November 1994 to January 1996 at a station located in Ría de Vigo (Spain). A trade-off between egg size and egg number was found. As food concentration measured as mean fluorescence in the water column diminished, mean number of eggs per sac carried per female decreased, whereas mean egg size increased. An experiment carried out with adult females cultured at different food concentrations confirmed the field results, and also showed that as egg size increased, there was an increase in naupliar body length at hatching; nauplii developed faster to first copepodite stage, and net reproductive rate was higher. Therefore, the reproductive strategy of directing more energy toward offspring size rather than offspring number, at low food concentrations, clearly increases reproductive success.

Copepod · Reproduction · Food concentration

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