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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 616:25-35 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12928

Ontogenetic changes in the feeding functional response of the marine copepod Paracartia grani

Manuel Olivares*, Enric Saiz, Albert Calbet

Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICM, CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The feeding activity of copepods is crucial for the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. Quantification of feeding rates of different copepod life stages across a range of prey densities (functional response) is essential knowledge for improvement of plankton dynamic models. In this study, we conducted experiments to compare the feeding functional responses of nauplii, copepodites, and adults of the marine copepod Paracartia grani (formerly Acartia grani) when grazing on the flagellate Rhodomonas salina. We found that all copepod stages followed a sigmoid curve in their functional responses (Holling Type III model), indicating a metabolic threshold constraining foraging effort at low prey densities. Maximum clearance rates of nauplii and copepodites increased with body mass with a power scaling factor of 1, but maximum clearance rates of adults did not follow the pattern observed for juvenile stages, likely because of the relatively small prey size used in the experiments. Copepod maximum ingestion rates, however, showed allometric scaling along ontogeny that was closer to the typical 0.75 power law and seemed to not be so dependent on prey size. The insights obtained from our study highlight stage-specific differences in copepod feeding activity, and can help improve our capability to estimate the energy flow through copepods in marine food webs.


KEY WORDS: Zooplankton · Acartia · Nauplii · Development · Grazing · Ingestion · Clearance rate · Functional trait


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Cite this article as: Olivares M, Saiz E, Calbet A (2019) Ontogenetic changes in the feeding functional response of the marine copepod Paracartia grani. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 616:25-35. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12928

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