Individual variability in diel vertical migration of a marine copepod: Why some individuals remain at depth when others migrate

Hays, G. C., H. Kennedy, B. W. Frost

Limnol. Oceanogr., 46(8), 2001, 2050-2054 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2001.46.8.2050

ABSTRACT: The diel vertical migration (DVM) of the copepod Metridia pacifica was examined in Dabob Bay (47°45.05'N, 122°49.71'W), a fjord in Washington state. Although the population showed deep daytime residence (75-175 m), a proportion of the population was found in the surface waters at night. For individuals that migrated to the surface, the mean size of the oil sac was much smaller than those that remained at depth (mean lengths of oil sac 0.25 mm for individuals collected between 0 and 25 m at night, compared with 0.43 mm for individuals from between 125 and 175 m). Similarly, the C:N ratio was lower for animals collected from near the surface, indicative of their lower lipid reserves. These results suggest that individual variability in DVM was influenced by body condition, with those animals with larger lipid stores not needing to risk coming to the surface to feed at night.

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