Effect of diatom morphology on the small-scale behavior of the copepod Temora stylifera (Dana, 1849)

Gauri Mahadik, Claudia Castellani, Maria Grazia Mazzocchi

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3 Scopus citations


We explored the small-scale behavior of the calanoid copepod Temora stylifera in relation to the diatoms Chaetoceros socialis, Leptocylindrus aporus, Leptocylindrus danicus and Pseudo-nitzschia calliantha offered as monospecific diets at similar carbon concentrations. These four diatoms are characterized by distinct size, shape and colony forming ability and are important components of the autumnal bloom co-occurring with the seasonal peak of T. stylifera abundance in Mediterranean coastal waters. High-speed video recordings showed that T. stylifera acquired cells in a suspension feeding mode while creating feeding currents. Copepod behavior was quantified in terms of feeding, motion, and grooming activities. T. stylifera spent more time in hovering than cruising in presence of all diets. The solitary L. aporus and P. calliantha elicited longer feeding bouts, lower appendage beat frequency and shorter grooming events compared to the colonial L. danicus and C. socialis. Overall the present results indicate that the behavioral responses of T. stylifera to different diatom diets were species-specific. The observed behavioral plasticity may help T. stylifera to adjust rapidly to changes in the food environment and this can be advantageous in exploiting short-lived phytoplankton blooms.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
StatePublished - May 12 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to Augusto Passarelli, Gianluca Zazo, Ferdinando Tramontano and the crew of the research vessel Vettoria for zooplankton sampling, to Alessandro Manfredonia for providing culture media, and to Federico Corato for other technical support. GM is grateful to Diana Sarno for training in diatom identification and for useful discussions. The authors would like to acknowledge Jose Federico F. Hernandez Sanchez, KAUST for his valuable comments which helped to improve the manuscript. This work is part of GM's PhD, supported by Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn from a fellowship provided by the Instituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero (IAMC-CNR) through the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, Trieste). The Italian Flagship Project RITMARE project (03/2014) contributed to fund this research. We are thankful to the two anonymous reviewers whose constructive criticisms and suggestions have contributed to improve an early version of this manuscript.[PM]


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