Shelf harpacticoid copepods do not escape into the seabed during winter storms
Winter storms on temperate shelves frequently rework bottom sediments. When the sediment is put in motion, sediment-dwelling harpacticoid copepods risk being suspended. We tested for evidence that adult harpacticoids move below the layer of reworked sediment to avoid suspension. To do so, we determined the rate at which a moderate storm at a site at 18 m depth in the northern Gulf of Mexico (29° 40.63′N, 84° 22.80′W) exposed subsurface sediment during bed-form development and then subjected intact cores from that site to a similar rate of exposure in a laboratory flume. We found no significant difference in vertical position of the population median for adult males of most species and adult females of all species tested between the eroded and control cores. Even the adult males that moved down did not move far enough and were eroded. We conclude that adult harpacticoids do not shelter from winter storms in the seabed. As they are capable of such behavior, being suspended must be more advantageous than living temporarily at depth in the sediment.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1995
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