Feeding of Calanus finmarchicus and Oithona similis on the microplankton assemblage in the Irminger Sea, North Atlantic

Claudia Castellani*, Xabier Irigoien, Daniel J. Mayor, Roger P. Harris, David Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The present investigation reviews published data on the feeding rates and prey selection of Oithona similis females, Calanus finmarchicus nauplii and females in the Irminger Sea in April/May and July/August 2002. Our aim was to examine how the feeding rates and prey selection of these three copepod stages respond to concomitant changes in microplankton community composition and prey abundance. Copepods typically ingested prey overall according to its ambient concentration although significant species and stage-specific differences in prey-type ingestion and selection were apparent. Despite being of comparable weight, the ingestion rates of C. finmarchicus nauplii were always higher than those of the O. similis females. Moreover, C. finmarchicus nauplii and O. similis females fed preferentially on diatoms and ciliates respectively, whereas adult female C. finmarchicus showed limited prey selectivity. Copepod grazing impact on total and on ciliates/dinoflagellates standing stock was <0.5 and <2%, respectively. We attribute this result to a combination of low grazing rates, low copepod abundance and low microplankton biomass, all of which are indicative of the non-bloom conditions under which these experiments were conducted. The differences in copepod feeding rates and prey selection we report reflect species and stage-specific eco-physiological adaptations, which may act as important driving forces for marine ecosystem structuring and functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1116
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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