Disentangling the counteracting effects of water content and carbon mass on zooplankton growth

McConville, K; Atkinson, A; Fileman, ES; Spicer, JI; Hirst, AG. 2017 Disentangling the counteracting effects of water content and carbon mass on zooplankton growth. Journal of Plankton Research, 39 (2). 246-256. doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbw094

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Abstract/Summary

Abstract Zooplankton vary widely in carbon percentage (carbon mass as a percentage of wet mass), but are often described as either gelatinous or non-gelatinous. Here we update datasets of carbon percentage and growth rate to investigate whether carbon percentage is a continuous trait, and whether its inclusion improves zooplankton growth models. We found that carbon percentage is continuous, but that species are not distributed homogenously along this axis. To assess variability of this trait in situ, we investigated the distribution of biomass across the range of carbon percentage for a zooplankton time series at station L4 off Plymouth, UK. This showed separate biomass peaks for gelatinous and crustacean taxa, however, carbon percentage varied 8-fold within the gelatinous group. Species with high carbon mass had lower carbon percentage, allowing separation of the counteracting effects of these two variables on growth rate. Specific growth rates, g (d−1) were negatively related to carbon percentage and carbon mass, even in the gelatinous taxa alone, suggesting that the trend is not driven by a categorical difference between these groups. The addition of carbon percentage doubled the explanatory power of growth models based on mass alone, demonstrating the benefits of considering carbon percentage as a continuous trait.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: water content, zooplankton, gelatinous, carbon percentage, growth
Subjects: Biology
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: Elaine Fileman
Date made live: 31 Oct 2017 09:42
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 09:42
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/7422

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