Copepod Diel Vertical Migration

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Optical plankton counter and video plankton recorder being deployed from the NOAA Ship Albatross IV during a study of Calanus finmarchicus diel vertical migration.


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Image of Calanus finmarchicus taken in-situ by the video plankton recorder (VPR).

Principal Investigator:  Mark Baumgartner (WHOI Biology).

Many copepods are faced with a daily dilema.  All their food (phytoplankton) is near the surface, but during the day, it is bright enough at the surface for predators like herring and sand lance to see and eat them.  So, copepods often feed at the surface at night under the cover of dark, and they seek refuge at depth where it remains dark even during the day.  This daily migration from surface to depth at dawn and from depth to surface at dusk has important implications for predators.  We are studying this vertical migration behavior in copepods and the factors that may influence this behavior (e.g., presence of predators, phytoplankton abundance, feeding history), as well as the effect of this migration on the occurrence and behavior of right and sei whales.

Support for this project provided by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Naval Research Marine Mammals and Biology Program, the WHOI Ocean Life Institute, and the WHOI John E. and Anne W. Sawyer Endowed Fund

Publications and Presentations
Baumgartner, M.F., N.S. J. Lysiak, C. Schuman, J. Urban-Rich, and F.W. Wenzel.  2011.  Diel vertical migration behavior of Calanus finmarchicus and its influence on right and sei whale occurrence.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 423:167-184.

Baumgartner, M.F., N.S. J. Lysiak, C. Schuman, J. Urban-Rich, and F. Wenzel.  2010.  The influence of copepod diel vertical migration on competition between right whales and zooplanktivorous fish.  North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium Meeting.  New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA.  November 3-4, 2010.



 

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Last updated April 18, 2011
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