Biology

Copepod feeding strategy determines response to seawater viscosity: videography study of two calanoid copepod species [RESEARCH ARTICLE]



Abigail S. Tyrell, Houshuo Jiang, and Nicholas S. Fisher

Calanoid copepods, depending on feeding strategy, have different behavioral and biological controls on their movements, thereby responding differently to environmental conditions such as changes in seawater viscosity. To understand how copepod responses to environmental conditions are mediated through physical, physiological and/or behavioral pathways, we used high-speed microvideography to compare two copepod species, Acartia hudsonica and Parvocalanus crassirostris, under different temperature, viscosity and dietary conditions. Acartia hudsonica exhibited ‘sink and wait’ feeding behavior and typically responded to changes in seawater viscosity; increased seawater viscosity reduced particle-capture behavior and decreased the size of the feeding current. In contrast, P. crassirostris continuously swam and did not show any behavioral or physical responses to changes in viscosity. Both species showed a physiological response to temperature, with reduced appendage beating frequency at cold temperatures, but this did not generally translate into effects on swimming speed, feeding flux or active time. Both copepod species swam slower when feeding on diatom rather than dinoflagellate prey, showing that prey type mediates copepod behavior. These results differentiate species-specific behaviors and responses to environmental conditions, which may lead to better understanding of niche separation and latitudinal patterns in copepod feeding and movement strategies.

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