Small copepods could channel missing carbon through metazoan predation

Roura, Álvaro, Strugnell, Jan M., Guerra, Ángel, Gonzalez, Ángel F., and Richardson, Anthony J. (2018) Small copepods could channel missing carbon through metazoan predation. Ecology and Evolution, 8 (22). pp. 10868-10878.

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Global ecosystem models are essential tools for predicting climate change impacts on marine systems. Modeled biogenic carbon fluxes in the ocean often match measured data poorly and part of this could be because small copepods (<2 mm) are modeled as unicellular feeders grazing on phytoplankton and microzooplankton. The most abundant copepods from a seasonal upwelling region of the Eastern North Atlantic were sorted, and a molecular method was applied to copepod gut contents to evaluate the extent of metazoan predation under two oceanographic conditions, a trophic pathway not accounted for in global models. Scaling up the results obtained herein, based on published field and laboratory estimates, suggests that small copepods could ingest 1.79-27.20 gigatons C/year globally. This ignored metazoan-copepod link could increase current estimates of biogeochemical fluxes (remineralization, respiration, and the biological pump) and export to higher trophic levels by 15.6%-24.4%. It could also account for global discrepancies between measured daily ingestion and copepod metabolic demand/growth. The inclusion of metazoan predation into global models could provide a more realistic role of the copepods in the ocean and if these preliminary data hold true at larger sample sizes and scales, the implications would be substantial at the global scale.

Item ID: 56662
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Keywords: biogenic fluxes, biological pump, carbon sink, climate change, copepods, fisheries, global ecosystem models, trophic ecology, zooplankton
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Science (SMIS), Fundación Barrié de la Maza (FBM), La Trobe University (LTU)
Projects and Grants: SMIS CAIBEX CTM2007‐66408‐C02, SMIS LARECO CTM2011‐25929, SMIS CALECO CTM2015‐69519‐R, FBM Grant Number: 3003197/2013, LTU RFA grant 'Securing Food, Water and the Environment
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 07:45
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
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