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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 221:199-207 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/meps221199

Carbonate dissolution in copepod guts: a numerical model

Heiko Jansen*, Dieter A. Wolf-Gladrow

Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, PO Box 120161, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
*Present address: Meteorologisches Institut der Universität Hamburg, Bundesstraße 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: A numerical model is proposed for investigating the potential of calcium carbonate dissolution in copepod guts. A sensitivity analysis is performed to reveal critical parameters. Gut pH sets the dissolution rate and gut-clearance rate determines the time scale on which ingested calcite is subject to dissolution. Highest dissolution is obtained when the individual zooplankton is alternating between grazing and non-grazing and feeding is restricted to the night-time period. Model results show that up to 70% of the ingested carbonate may be dissolved in the guts, considering reingestion of faecal pellets in the absence of a phytoplankton bloom, while ~15% dissolution is to be expected in a bloom situation. An estimate is made for the contribution of calcite dissolution in copepod guts to the proposed global calcite loss in the water column.

KEY WORDS: Calcium carbonate dissolution · Copepod guts · Faecal pellets

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