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Impacts of predation risk and food availability on zooplankton behavior


Research objectives and content
Traditionally, the supply of resources has been considered the forcing factor in marine pelagic food webs. However, predation probably plays an important role also, but a discrepancy between scales of physical and biological interactions may obscure our ability to observe this. In the field, zooplankton distribution and mortality depend on a combination of predator and prey behaviour, concentrations of predators and food, and on the degree of water motion. Laboratory studies of copepod behaviour have largely ignored predation risk and instead focused on behavior as determined mainly by the food regime. I will investigate the combined impact of predation risk and food availability (including prey behavior) on nauplii and adult copepod (i) swimming/feeding behavior and on (ii) escape responses and perception capacities. I will then use the resulting relative predator encounter probabilities and escape probabilities from (i) and (ii) to predict and (iii) examine predation mortality in the laboratory.
This will contribute to a more field relevant picture of copepod and nauplii behavior which I believe is necessary to adequately assess zooplankton distributions and resource utilization in the sea. Subsequent field studies will then focus on distribution and mortality of zooplankton in relation to predator- and food regimes while considering (i) water motion as a constraining factor on the development of behavioral interactions and (ii) implication of behavior for population dynamics. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact).
My primary objective and benefit of a TMR fellowship is to earn my Ph.D. degree in zooplankton ecology and improve my research abilities. T. Kiorboe is a world leading scientist in the field of experimental zooplankton research. Naturally, his supervision provides a major benefit because it will help bring out the best in me in terms of scientific maturity and research skills. In addition, the overall diversity of high quality research in zooplankton ecology (behavior, turbulence, ecological models) of the department and the access to well equipped laboratory and plankton culturing facilities provides me with a, for Europe, unique opportunity to increase my theoretical and methodological foundations in zooplankton ecology while gaining experience with both laboratory and field research through my own project.
My long term career goal is a research position at a university or a research institute. At DIFRES I will acquire the necessary skills to successfully plan, conduct and lead a major research effort in plankton ecology. These skills will be highly beneficial upon my return to Sweden and throughout my continued career.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)


Danish Institute of Fisheries Research
2920 Charlottenlund

Participants (1)

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