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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 427 - Feature article
Live (red) and dead (brown) Acartia tonsa after treatment with neutral red stain (nauplii in top row, copepodites in bottom row). Photo: David Elliott

Elliott DT, Tang KW


Influence of carcass abundance on estimates of mortality and assessment of population dynamics in Acartia tonsa


Using data on Acartia tonsa copepod and carcass abundances in the tributaries of the lower Chesapeake Bay, Elliott and Tang showed that mortality rates corrected for carcass occurrence were significantly different from rates that assumed all intact copepods were alive in situ. Furthermore, corrected mortality rates resulted in more accurate abundance predictions from a simple population dynamics model. Copepod and carcass abundances were also used to estimate predatory and non-predatory components of mortality. Nauplii suffered a higher proportion of non-predatory mortality than copepodites, and both mortality components were required to produce reasonable population dynamics predictions. These results highlight the importance of quantifying carcasses and non-predatory mortality in understanding A. tonsa ecology and population dynamics in the region.


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