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Plankton. Marine life 3 categories: Benthos : bottom dwellers; sponges, crabs Nekton : strong swimmers- whales, fish, squid Plankton : animal/plants that drift in water. The have little control over their movement. Includes: diatoms, dinoflagellates, larvae, jellyfish, bacteria.

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slide2

Marine life 3 categories:

  • Benthos: bottom dwellers; sponges, crabs
  • Nekton: strong swimmers- whales, fish, squid
  • Plankton: animal/plants that drift in water. The have little control over their movement.
  • Includes: diatoms, dinoflagellates, larvae, jellyfish, bacteria.
slide4

Plankton classified by:

    • Size
    • Habitat
    • Taxonomy
slide5

Size:

  • Picoplankton (.2-2 µm) bacterioplankton
  • Nanoplankton (2 - 20 µm) protozoans
  • Microplankton (20-200 µm) diatoms, eggs, larvae
  • Macroplankton (200-2,000 µm) some eggs, juvenile fish
  • Megaplankton (> 2,000 µm) includes jellyfish, ctenophores, Mola mola
slide6

Habitat:

  • Holoplankton-spends entire lifecycle as plankton
  • Ex. Jellyfish, diatoms, copepods
  • Meroplankton- spend part of lifecycle as plankton
  • Ex. fish and crab larvae, eggs

lobster

snail

fish

slide7

Habitat:

  • Pleuston- organisms that float passively at the seas surface
  • Ex. Physalia, Velella
  • Neuston – organisms that inhabit the uppermost few mm of the surface water
  • Ex. bacteria, protozoa, larvae; light intensity too high for phytoplankton
slide9

Phytoplankton- restricted to the euphotic zone where light is available for photosynthesis.

  • Blooms:
  • High nutrients
  • Upwelling
  • Seasonal conditions
slide10

Some important types of phytoplankton

  • Diatoms: temperate and polar waters, silica case or shell
  • Dinoflagellates: tropical and subtropical waters.... also summer in temperate
  • Coccolithophores: tropical, calcium carbonate shells or "tests"
  • Silicoflagellates: silica internal skeleton... found world wide, particularly in Antarctic
  • Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae): not true algae, often in brackish nearshore waters and warm water gyres
  • Green Algae: not common except in lagoons and estuaries
slide11

Some important types of zooplankton

  • Crustaceans: Copepods
    • Krill
    • Cladocera
    • Mysids
    • Ostracods
  • Jellies
  • Coelenterates (True jellies, Man-of-wars, By-the-wind-sailors)
  • Ctenophores (comb jellies)
  • Urochordates (salps and larvacea)
  • Worms (Arrow worms, polychaetes)
  • Pteropods (planktonic snails)
slide15

Jelly-like house

Okiopleura

Marine snow

slide17

Zooplankton:larvae, copepods. Some produce oil to help them float. Smaller population size than the phytoplanktoton. Zooplankton population size increases after phytoplankton size increases.

zooplankton

phytoplankton

Winter Spring Summer Fall

slide18

Nutritional modes of zooplankton:

  • Herbivores: feed primarily on phytoplankton
  • Carnivores: feed primarily on other zooplankton (animals)
  • Detrivores: feed primarily on dead organic matter (detritus) 
  • Omnivores: feed on mixed diet of plants and animals and detritus
slide21

Diel vertical Migration

Each species has its own preferred day and night depth range, which may vary with lifecycle.

  • Nocturnal Migration
    • single daily ascent near sunset
  • Twilight migration (crepuscular period)
    • two ascents and two descents
  • Reverse migration
    • rise during day and descend at night
slide22

Advantages for Diurnal vertical migration

  • An antipredator strategy; less visual to predators
  • Zooplankton migrate to the surface at night and below during the day to the mesopelagic zone. Copepods avoid euphasiids which avoid chaetognaths.
slide23

Advantages for DVM

  • 1. Energy conservation
  • Encounter new feeding areas
  • Get genetic mixing of populations
  • Hastens transfer of organic material produced in the euphotic zone to the deep sea
slide24

Plankton Patchiness

  • Zooplankton not distributed uniformly or randomly
  • Aggregated into patches of variable size
  • Difficult to detect with plankton nets
  • - Nets “average” the catch over the length of the tow
  • May explain enormous variability in catches from net tows at close distances apart
slide26

Causes of Patchiness

  • Aggregations around phytoplankton
  • - If phytoplankton occurs in patches, grazers will be drawn to food
  • - Similar process that led to phytoplankton patches will form zooplankton patches
  • Grazing “holes”
  • Physical process
  • - Langmuir Cells
  • - Internal waves
slide28

Accumulation of Plankton in Langmuir Cells

  • Buoyant particles and upward-swimming zooplankton will accumulate over downwelling zones
slide33

Deep sea scattering layer:

Composite echogram of hydroacoustic data showing a distinct krill scattering layer.

Black line represents surface tracking of a blue whale feeding

patchiness