zooplankton


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zooplankton:

see marine biologymarine biology,
study of ocean plants and animals and their ecological relationships. Marine organisms may be classified (according to their mode of life) as nektonic, planktonic, or benthic. Nektonic animals are those that swim and migrate freely, e.g.
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.

Zooplankton

Animals that inhabit the water column of oceans and lakes and lack the means to counteract transport currents. Zooplankton inhabit all layers of these water bodies to the greatest depths sampled, and constitute a major link between primary production and higher trophic levels in aquatic ecosystems. Many zooplankton are capable of strong swimming movements and may migrate vertically from tens to hundreds of meters; others have limited mobility and depend more on water turbulence to stay afloat. All zooplankton, however, lack the ability to maintain their position against the movement of large water masses.

Zooplankton can be divided into various operational categories. One means of classification is based on developmental stages and divides animals into meroplankton and holoplankton. Meroplanktonic forms spend only part of their life cycles as plankton and include larvae of benthic worms, mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms, coral, and even insects, as well as the eggs and larvae of many fishes. Holoplankton spend essentially their whole existence in the water column. Examples are chaetognaths, pteropods, larvaceans, siphonophores, and many copepods. Nearly every major taxonomic group of animals has either meroplanktonic or holoplanktonic members.

Size is another basis of grouping all plankton. A commonly accepted size classification scheme includes the groupings: picoplankton (<2 micrometers), nanoplankton (2– 20 μm), microplankton (20–200 μm), mesoplankton (0.2–20 mm), macroplankton (20–200 mm), and megaplankton (>200 mm).

The classic description of the trophic dynamics of plankton is a food chain consisting of algae grazed by crustacean zooplankton which are in turn ingested by fishes. This model may hold true to a degree in some environments such as upwelling areas, but it masks the complexity of most natural food webs. Zooplankton have an essential role in linking trophic levels, but several intermediate zooplankton consumers can exist between the primary producers (phytoplankton) and fish. Thus, food webs with multiple links to different organisms indicate the versatility of food choice and energy transfer and are a more realistic description of the planktonic trophic interactions.

Size is of major importance in planktonic food webs. Most zooplankton tend to feed on organisms that have a body size smaller than their own. However, factors other than size also modify feeding interactions. Some phytoplankton are noxious and are avoided by zooplankton, and others are ingested but not digested. Furthermore, zooplankton frequently assume different feeding habits as they grow from larval to adult form. They may ingest bacteria or phytoplankton at one stage of their life cycle and become raptorial feeders later. Other zooplankton are primarily herbivorous but also ingest heterotrophic protists and can opportunistically become carnivorous. Consequently, omnivory, which is considered rare in terrestrial systems, is a relatively common trophic strategy in the plankton. In all food webs, some individuals die without being consumed and are utilized by scavengers and ultimately by decomposers (bacteria and fungi). See Ecology, Ecosystem, Marine ecology, Phytoplankton

zooplankton

[¦zō·ə′plaŋk·tən]
(ecology)
Microscopic animals which move passively in aquatic ecosystems.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Although the animals in the ocean's oxygen minimum zone have adapted over millions of years to the very low oxygen of this extreme and widespread midwater habitat, they are living at the very limits of their physiological capability," said Karen Wishner, a professor of oceanography at URI's Graduate School of Oceanography and lead author of a new paper on deoxygenation and zooplankton in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific OMZ.
where c is the constant harvesting cost per unit effort, [p.sub.1] and [p.sub.2] are the constant price per unit biomass of the phytoplankton and zooplankton, and [v.sub.1], [v.sub.2] are the economic constants.
Since phytoplankton richness is one of the initial biological components from which the energy is transferred to higher organisms such as the zooplankton and the shrimps [13], the differences observed from one sampling area to another indicate differences in water quality and the degree of eutrophication of the sampling areas [14, 15].
Zooplankton composition consisted of 72.12% of species from Rotifera, 16.81% from Copepoda, and 11.07% from Cladocera.
Regarding the effect of body size, ingestion rates of zooplankton appear to be adequately described by allometric models (Vidal & Whitledge, 1982; Ikeda, 1985; Ikeda et al, 2001; Saiz & Calbet, 2007, 2011), with a body mass exponent in the range of 0.7-0.8, although this parameter in some cases can differ significantly from the expected value of 0.75, which is the power scaling of metabolic rates.
Zooplankton samples were collected off Peach Point between South Bass Island and Gibraltar Island, in the Western Basin of Lake Erie (Fig.
Table IV.- Zooplankton species, richness, and average abundance (Ind.m-3) of each category.
Zooplankton form the base of the foodchain, and are vital nutrition for whales and numerous invertebrates like oysters and shrimp.