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Free Content Diel Patterns of Zooplankton Behavior

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Zooplankton exhibit a variety of daily cycles including vertical and horizontal migrations, changes in feeding behavior and alternating reproductive states. The most popular hypothesis to explain the adaptive advantage of diel vertical migration is predator avoidance, i.e., nocturnal vertical migrations afford protection from visually feeding predators, whereas reverse (diurnal) migrations result from avoidance of nocturnally migrating, nonvisual predators. Proposed metabolic advantages of vertical migration have received much attention, but relatively little experimental support. Nocturnal migrations may also represent an adaptive behavior for avoidance of damaging solar radiation. One is struck with the variations in diel behavior patterns and the apparent plasticity of zooplankton in adapting diel behaviors to fit specific environments. Recent studies considering multiple causes of vertical migration show much promise. Problems and improvements in studies of diel zooplankton behavior are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1988

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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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