Effects of Planktonic Copepods on Transparent Exopolymeric Particles (TEP) Abundance and Size Spectra

Prieto, L., Sommer, Frank, Stibor, Herwig and Koeve, Wolfgang (2001) Effects of Planktonic Copepods on Transparent Exopolymeric Particles (TEP) Abundance and Size Spectra Journal of Plankton Research, 23 . pp. 515-525. DOI 10.1093/plankt/23.5.515.

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Diatoms exude considerable quantities of polymers, mainly polysaccharides, that play an important role in the process of sestonic particle aggregation in the sea. We investigated the impact of copepods on transparent exopolymeric particles (TEP) generated by the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii. Grazing experiments with 14C-labelled algae exudates demonstrated that copepods typical of the Baltic Sea were not actively filtering TEP. Control experiments showed that ‘uptake’ of radioactivity could be ascribed to passive uptake, such as adsorption of radioactively-labelled particles to the body surface. Furthermore, we tested the effect of copepods on TEP size spectra. The abundance and size distribution of TEP (from 1.4 to 180 μm of Equivalent Spherical Diameter) were analysed in a 4 h incubation experiment. In the presence of copepods, the proportion of larger TEP was higher. An increase in total volume of TEP in jars containing copepods (~2 × 107 μm ml–1) compared with control jars without copepods (~0.5 × 107 μm3 ml–1) was also observed. The process of aggregation of TEP demonstrated in this work, whereby copepods increase downward particle flux without consuming carbon, can have far-reaching consequences for carbon fluxes along the water column and for copepods feeding dynamics.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Food Webs; transparent exopolymeric particles; TEP
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1093/plankt/23.5.515
ISSN: 1464-3774
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2010 10:24
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 14:57
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/6091

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