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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 691:29-40 (2022)  -  DOI:

Discovery and dynamics of a cryptic marine copepod-parasite interaction

Eric C. Orenstein1,4,*, Erik Saberski1, Christian Briseño-Avena2,3

1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093, USA
2Department of Environmental and Ocean Sciences, University of San Diego, CA 92110, USA
3Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA
4Present address: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Monterey, CA 95039, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Parasitism is increasingly recognized as a critical element of ecosystem dynamics but remains understudied due to observational limitations, especially in rapidly fluctuating marine plankton populations. We combined 3 new techniques—in situ imaging microscopy, automated classification, and empirical dynamic modeling—to quantify interactions between Oithona spp. and the rhizarian parasite Paradinium spp. at hourly resolution for over 1 yr in the Southern California Bight. We investigate the time scales, host population effects, and potential environmental drivers of infection. Our study suggests that Paradinium spp. is consistently present in the local copepod population at low levels throughout the year and that the parasite exerts control on the host population on a 22-23 d lag—a delay consistent with known Oithona spp. generation times. The interaction strength was pronounced at higher temperatures, suggesting that Paradinium spp. will have a significant role in local ecosystem dynamics as surface ocean temperatures rise.

KEY WORDS: Parasitic interaction · Population control · Marine copepods · Oithona · Rhizarian · Paradinium · In situ microscopy · Time series

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Cite this article as: Orenstein EC, Saberski E, Briseño-Avena C (2022) Discovery and dynamics of a cryptic marine copepod-parasite interaction. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 691:29-40.

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