The role of microzooplankton trophic interactions in modelling a suite of mesocosm ecosystems

Su, Bei, Pahlow, Markus and Prowe, A.E. Friederike (2018) The role of microzooplankton trophic interactions in modelling a suite of mesocosm ecosystems Ecological Modelling, 368 . pp. 169-179. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.11.013.

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Supplementary data:


• Optimality-based modelling of microzooplankton trophic interactions in mesocsosm ecosystems.
• Intraguild predation is important for modelling microzooplankton feeding interactions.
• Trophic interactions structured solely by size may fail to capture feeding diversity.
• Adequate representation of feeding interaction is needed for modelling ecosystem dynamics.

The zooplankton components in biogeochemical models drive top-down control of primary production and remineralisation, and thereby exert a strong impact on model performance. Who eats whom in oceanic plankton ecosystem models is often largely determined by body size. However, zooplankton of similar size can have different prey-size spectra. Thus, models with solely size-structured trophic interactions may not capture the full diversity of feeding interactions and miss important parts of zooplankton behavior.

We apply an optimality-based plankton ecosystem model to analyse trophic interactions in a suite of mesocosm experiments in the Peruvian upwelling region. Sensitivity analyses reveal a dominant role of trophic structure for model performance, which cannot be compensated by parameter optimisation. The single most important aspect governing model performance is the trophic linking between dinoflagellates and ciliates. Only with a bidirectional link, i.e., both groups can prey on each other, is the model able to reproduce the differential development of the microzooplankton communities in the mesocosms. Thus, we conclude that a solely size-based trophic structure may not be appropriate to represent the most important trophic interactions in plankton ecosystems. The diversity of feeding interactions needs to be adequately represented to capture community dynamics.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Optimality-based plankton model; Trophic interactions; Feeding diversity; Dinoflagellates; Ciliates; Predator–prey size ratio
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > SFB 754 > B2
OceanRep > SFB 754
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.11.013
ISSN: 0304-3800
Projects: DynaTrait, SFB754
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 09:50
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2017 09:58

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