Feeding capabilities and limitations in the nauplii of two pelagic estuarine copepods, Pseudodiaptomus marinus and Oithona davisae

Robert A. Vogt, Toni R. Ignoffo, Lindsay J. Sullivan, Julian Herndon, Jonathon H. Stillman and Wim J. Kimmerer

Limnol. Oceanogr., 58(6), 2013, 2145-2157 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.6.2145

ABSTRACT: In most aquatic ecosystems, copepod nauplii outnumber all other mesozooplankton. Although thousands of studies have examined feeding by later life history stages, the feeding habits of nauplii are poorly known. We offered conspecific adult and naupliar stages of the current-feeding calanoid copepod Pseudodiaptomus marinus and the ambush-feeding cyclopoid copepod Oithona davisae 14 species of phytoplankton from various functional and taxonomic groups that spanned a wide size range. Using a novel epifluorescence microscopy method, we calculated an index of gut pigment for copepods fed each phytoplankton species. We also measured adult and naupliar feeding rates on three species of phytoplankton: the cryptomonad Rhodomonas salina, the prasinophyte Tetraselmis suecica, and the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana, by an improved gut fluorescence method using a microplate reader. Despite their smaller size, weaker swimming and sensory capabilities, and rudimentary feeding apparatus, nauplii fed on a large range of cell sizes and were capable of consuming many of the same phytoplankton as adults.

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