Encounters in the Zooplankton: Implications for Pelagic Ecosystem Dynamics
Sanvicente Añorve, Laura
Alatorre Mendieta, Miguel
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Summary in foreign language
Many important phenomena in the plankton are driven by encounters among individuals. These encounters are mediated by the relative motion of zooplankters, either through the swimming ability of organisms, the small-scale hydrodynamic turbulence, or both. Through selected case studies, in this chapter, we illustrate how encounter rates influence the predator-prey interactions and reproduction, two of the major processes regulating the zooplankton population dynamics. Estimations on the encounter rates among zooplankters were made on the basis of the Gerritsen-Strickler and Rothschild-Osborn models, which consider non-turbulent and turbulent conditions, respectively. In a first case, we show how the predatory impact of siphonophores is over the fish larvae, in the southern Gulf of Mexico. In the absence of water turbulence, a predator encounters 38–40 prey in a day at surface waters, but under the influence of the wind, encounters can increase between 1.2 and 3.3 times depending on the wind velocity and prey speed. In a second case, we examined the encounters between a copepod predator and a cladoceran prey, the dominant groups in the meromictic lagoon of Clipperton atoll. Here, a predator can encounter a high number of prey (until 441) in a day, due to the high density of prey. Turbulence conditions enhance encounter rates, but even if encounters are high, it does not mean that a predator can ingest a high number of prey. In a third case, we analyzed the mate encounters of the holoplanktonic mollusk Firoloida desmarestia from the southern Gulf of Mexico, throughout an annual cycle. Results indicated that May is the high reproductive season, a period where a female can encounter 17 males in a day, under turbulent conditions. As F. desmarestia is a low abundant species, the role of wind-induced turbulence proved to be highly important in increasing encounters between mates. These case studies illustrate the importance of encounters among zooplankters in the growth and maintenance of populations in the plankton. Future field and experimental studies are needed to achieve a better understanding of the pelagic ecosystem dynamics.
Link to resourcehttps://www.intechopen.com/books/marine-ecology-biotic-and-abiotic-interactions/encounters-in-the-zooplankton-implications-for-pelagic-ecosystem-dynamics
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