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Free Content Role of Temporal Scales of Acclimation, Food Quality and Trophic Dominance in Controlling the Evolution of Copepod Feeding Behavior

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Comparative studies of marine copepods from different environments suggest that major inter-species differences exist in feeding behavior that cannot be directly related to food concentration or particle size. Experiments with dominant species from estuarine, shelf, and offshore environments indicate strong differences in feeding appendage morphology, degrees of feeding selectivity, mechanisms of food selection, rates of acclimation of feeding selectivity to changing food resources, and in the coupling of feeding behavior with nutritional needs. Inter-species differences thus far observed vary from orders of magnitude for rates of acclimation to relatively more subtle differences in the degree of selectivity that can be eventually achieved. This suggests the estuarine, coastal and oceanic dominant species studied thus far should perceive temporal and spatial variation in the quality and quantity of their food resources differently and in turn should respond in divergent behavioral and physiological ways. The differences in feeding behavior and assimilation appear to be related to the food resource characteristics of the environment in which the species dominate, the rate those characteristics change, and the trophic status of the copepod. The relative importance of these factors and the generality of these conclusions should be tested in future experiments.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1988-11-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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