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Mariani, P, Andersen KH, Visser AW, Barton AD, Kiørboe T.  2013.  Control of plankton seasonal succession by adaptive grazing. Limnology and Oceanography. 58:173-184.   10.4319/lo.2013.58.1.0173   Abstract

The ecological succession of phytoplankton communities in temperate seas is characterized by the dominance of nonmotile diatoms during spring and motile flagellates during summer, a pattern often linked to the seasonal variation in the physical environment and nutrient availability. We focus on the effects of adaptive zooplankton grazing behavior on the seasonal succession of temperate plankton communities in an idealized community model consisting of a zooplankton grazer and two phytoplankton species, one motile and the other nonmotile. The grazer can switch between ambush feeding on motile cells or feeding-current feeding on nonmotile cells. The feeding-current behavior imposes an additional mortality risk on the grazer, whereas ambush feeding benefits from small-scale fluid turbulence. Grazer-phytoplankton feeding interactions are forced by light and turbulence and the grazer adopts the feeding behavior that optimizes its fitness. The adaptive grazing model predicts essential features of the seasonal plankton succession reported from temperate seas, including the vertical distribution and seasonal variation in the relative abundance of motile and nonmotile phytoplankton and the seasonal variation in grazer abundance. Adaptive grazing behavior, in addition to nutrient and mixing regimes, can promote characteristic changes in the seasonal structure of phytoplankton community observed in nature.

McGinty, N, Barton AD, Record NR, Finkel ZV, Irwin AJ.  2018.  Traits structure copepod niches in the North Atlantic and Southern Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 601:109-126.   10.3354/meps12660   AbstractWebsite

Realised niches describe the environmental and biotic conditions that a species occupies. Among marine zooplankton, species traits, including body size, dietary mode (herbivore, omnivore, or carnivore), and diapause strategy are expected to influence the realised niche of a species. To date, realised niches are known for only a small number of copepod species. Here we quantify the realised niches of 88 copepod species measured by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) in the North Atlantic and Southern Ocean using Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling. We estimate the univariate mean niche, niche breadth of copepods for several important environmental variables, and assess the relative effects of several key zooplankton traits on the mean niche. Sea surface temperature (SST) contributed the most information to the description of niches on average across all species, with the rank importance of the remaining variables varying between regions. In the North Atlantic SST, depth, salinity and chlorophyll niches separated omnivores and herbivores from carnivores while in the Southern Ocean niche differences across dietary modes were found for chlorophyll and wind stress only. Diapausing copepods were found to occur in colder temperatures compared with non-diapausing taxa, likely because of their capacity for accumulating lipids. A strong negative body size-niche breadth relationship was found only for diapausing copepods, suggesting that larger multi-year generation species are more reliant on a specific temperature range to successfully reach diapause. Our analysis demonstrates strong connections between copepod traits and their realised niches in natural populations.