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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 401 - Feature article
Acartia tonsa males (left) and females (right) change in appearance, physiology and behaviour as they age. Photo: D. Calliari

Rodríguez-Graña L, Calliari D, Tiselius P, Hansen BW, Sköld HN


Gender-specific ageing and non-Mendelian inheritance of oxidative damage in marine copepods


Copepods are key organisms in marine ecosystems, but few studies have considered ageing as an explicit regulatory factor in their life history. Rodríguez-Graña and colleagues show that feeding and production rates in Acartia tonsa decrease and protein oxidative damage (POD) increases during senescence, as predicted by the oxidative stress hypothesis. Males manifested higher POD with age than females, providing an explanation for their shorter lifespan. Older females produced nauplii with higher POD than younger females for one of two food types. Ageing mechanisms affect reproductive output in copepod populations, and thus their population dynamics, as well as fluxes of organic matter.


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