Impact of zooplankton food selectivity on plankton dynamics and nutrient cycling

Sailley, SF, Polimene, L, Mitra, A, Atkinson, A and Allen, JI 2015 Impact of zooplankton food selectivity on plankton dynamics and nutrient cycling. Journal of Plankton Research, 37 (3). 519-529.

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Within models, zooplankton grazing is typically defined as being dependent on total prey concentration, with feeding selectivity expressed only as a function of prey size. This behavior ignores taxonomic preferences shown by the preda- tors and the capacity of some zooplankton to actively select or reject individual prey items from mixtures. We carried out two model experiments comparing impacts of zooplankton displaying passive and active selection, which resulted in contrasting dynamics for the pelagic system. Passive selection by the grazer resulted in a top down control on the prey with a fast turn-over of nutrients. Active selection, on the other hand led to a bottom-up control, with slower nutrient turnover constraining primary production by changing the system toward export of particulate matter. Our results suggest that selective feeding behavior is an important trait, and should be considered alongside size and taxonomy when studying the role of zooplankton impact in the ecosystem.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: feeding behavior, prey selection, plankton dynamics, zooplankton, stoichiometry
Subjects: Oceanography
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine System Modelling
Depositing User: Sevrine Sailley
Date made live: 27 May 2015 15:01
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2018 12:59

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