This project will focus on how carnivorous zooplankton function in the pelagic food web and their role in structuring the pelagic community. The major objective is to determine whether there is a consistent indication of predatory control of copepods in Swedish waters.
Copepods are the main food source for numerous species of fish in most marine environments. The understanding of their mortality is therefore crucial and essential to manage the economical important fisheries resources in a sustainable manner. Predicting the dynamics of ecosystems requires an understanding of how trophic interactions respond to environmental change. Invertebrate predation is an important regulating factor for populations of copepods and carnivorous zooplankton can have significant impact on the composition and biomass of zooplankton communities. However, a comprehensive picture is not yet present, and in the past this impact has been underestimated in planktonic energy budgets. Carnivorous zooplankton have been found to have a substantial impact on prey communities and selective predation by zooplankton may influence the trophic structure of the pelagic ecosystem. The diets and feeding of carnivorous zooplankton will therefore be investigated in the marine waters around Sweden (the Baltic Sea, the Kattegat and the Skagerrak). Simultaneously, prey composition and vertical distribution will be determined and used to estimate predation pressure.
The proposed ERG does not only provide new knowledge about Swedish marine food webs, it is also a long-term investment in the researcher’s future scientific career. The specific ERG will give her the expertise, self-confidence and maturity to carry out high level research as well as give her valuable experience in networking, fund-raising and project management at EU level. The ERG research will significantly reinforce her prospects of reaching, and further maintaining, a leading position within an international scientific community.
Fields of science
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