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Free Content Shelf harpacticoid copepods do not escape into the seabed during winter storms

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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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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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